Police are seeking a man and a woman who painted over a Black Lives Matter mural while clad in the campaign merchandise of President Donald Trump. Video of the incident outside of the Contra Costa County courthouse in Martinez, California, went viral on social media.
The video shows a woman using a roller to paint over the B and L in "Black Lives Matter" in black paint. A man records and argues with onlookers as they tell the woman to stop.
The man, in a cap and shirt that read “Trump” and “Four More Years,” tells witnesses that "we’re sick of this narrative."
“The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It’s a lie. It’s a lie.”
The man goes on to add: “Keep America great again, that’s right. Why don’t you guys learn about history, the Emancipation Proclamation Act?” and “You’re only free because of our forefathers.”
The woman tells onlookers to "keep this" in New York, adding “this is not happening in my town.”
A woman off-camera tells the man that he is a "colonizer" and not "from America."
“Your ancestors aren’t from here,” adds.
“You don’t know nothing,” the man retorts.
According to the New York Times, the Black Lives Matter mural had only been painted a few hours before the incident.
Justin Gomez, a resident, had received permission to paint the mural on Court Street, in front of the Contra Costa County courthouse.
“We asked to do it on our city’s main street,” Gomez told the Times. The city offered Court Street instead.
“We immediately agreed to it,” he said, “and I feel it was a more powerful statement than what we had initially proposed.”
Residents began painting the mural at 7 a.m., and Gomez left as the paint was drying around 2:30 p.m. Just 30 minutes later, he received text messages that the mural was being vandalized.
"I’m not so surprised that it happened," Gomez said. "I’m surprised at how bold they chose to be.”
Chief Manjit Sappal of the Martinez Police Department said in a statement that they are looking for the pair who vandalized the mural.
"On July 4th, community members obtained a permit from the City to paint Black Lives Matter on Court Street in downtown Martinez. Once the mural was completed, an unidentified white male and white female arrived."
"While the male made comments to a group of onlookers his companion began painting over the mural with black paint. At one point she made a statement that this was not, “…happening in my town.” She also asked the male to get her another can of paint to continue with the act of vandalism. It appeared that the couple came to the mural with cans of paint and a roller with the specific purpose of vandalizing over the mural."
Sappal added: "The community spent a considerable amount of time painting this mural only to have the suspects destroy it by dumping and rolling paint over part of the message."
"The City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful."
Unsurprisingly, the video attracted a strong response on social media.
"I can easily say that two of these pictures represents unity and peace; the other two are racist," one user wrote.
Another user added: "No ma’am, you’re wrong ma’am. It is happening in your town. And it’s happening in nice towns across the nation. Our country is finally dealing with a small piece of racial injustice. In the prescient words of the late Frank Zappa, 'They said it couldn’t happen here.'"