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A man and a woman who allegedly painted over a large “Black Lives Matter” sign that local authorities allowed to be painted across a street in downtown Martinez, Calif. have pleaded not guilty to hate crime and other misdemeanor charges, reports KPIX 5.
Their attorney says the city is the one at fault, for allowing an anti-law-enforcement, anti-American banner to be painted on a public thoroughfare.
Nichole Anderson, 42, and David Nelson, 53, both of Martinez, were charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office with three misdemeanor counts including a hate crime for their alleged actions over the July 4th weekend.
Anderson covered up letters of the Black Lives Matter “mural,” which was in fact just a giant message, with black paint and Nelson helped. The incident was captured on video that was posted to social media.
Attorney Bilal Essayli, whose Newport Beach-based firm was hired to defend the couple by the Center for American Liberty, said he looks forward to challenging the charges in court.
“We look forward to presenting our case to the jury,” Essayli said. “We think the charges here, frankly, are outrageous. That a highly politicized DA who’s funded by George Soros would categorize anyone who disagrees with the radical Black Lives Matter organization as hateful or racist…It’s an overcharge in our view, it’s a political message and the justice system should not be weaponized in that manner.
“Just as peaceful protesters have the right to march and display their political views in a myriad of different ways, they have the same right to express their dissatisfaction and their disagreement with their tax dollars being used to sponsor a radical organization, Black Lives Matters.”
Essayli said the case was being motivated by politics, not justice. “This case is really about the city of Martinez using taxpayer dollars and taxpayer property to co-sponsor and endorse the Black Lives Matter organization, which is anti-police and it’s anti-American,” he said.