Hundreds of anti-racism protesters took to the streets Sunday in a San Francisco Bay Area city where two people were charged with hate crimes after defacing a city-sanctioned “Black Lives Matter” mural.
The two were charged July 7, the same day that police in Martinez were called to investigate after someone painted “White Lives Matter” on a city street.
Activists organized Sunday’s march after police found flyers threatening Black Lives Matter supporters in the name of a white-power group.
Ahead of the protest, Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal shared a letter warning that there were reports of planned counter-protests.
“We have learned that some may be coming with the intention of protecting the community from protestors or protecting the police officers working the event and while I appreciate that thought, do not come to the protest armed or with an intention to commit violence,” the chief said.
While there was a large turnout and several “arguments” broke out in the crowd, police said there were no reports of major incidents at the rally.
“People kept their calm and there was no escalation and no reported violence. We had a few reports of small arguments and minor physical confrontations, but no major issues,” Sappal said.
David Nelson and Nicole Anderson were charged after they were filmed painting over the Black Lives Matter mural in front of the Contra Costa County courthouse
They are each charged with three misdemeanor counts, including violation of civil rights, vandalism and possession of tools to commit vandalism or graffiti.
Police are investigating the “White Lives Matter” graffiti seen later and searching for witnesses and video surveillance.