A dude wearing a "Four More Years" Trump 2020 t-shirt and a female companion decided to make a statement Sunday in Martinez by painting over a yellow, block-lettered "Black Lives Matter" mural on a city street with black paint. Their act of protest didn't get very far, though, as they ran out of paint and disappeared after being filmed by onlookers.
The incident unfolded on Court Street in Martinez Saturday afternoon, just hours after community members had painted the letters — similar to murals on streets that have been painted in San Francisco and Oakland. As ABC 7 reports, the mural in Martinez was done partly in response to white supremacist flyers that had been found circulating in the town in recent weeks.
And the white man and woman who came to paint over the mural — at least the first L — with black paint and a roller, were the second incident of counter-protest on Saturday. According to multiple witnesses who spoke to ABC 7, a resident rolled by the mural painters Saturday morning and pointed a gun at them while shouting "All Lives Matter."
#Breaking-2:Witnesses say man in jeep yelled “All Lives Matter!” When he was confronted by the group, he drove off. Witnesses say he then circle back and pulled a gun on a young man. Hear from young man on @abc7newsbayarea at 11 PM.https://t.co/RF0VmwBayg#BLM #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/STPq8BSp4X— Anser Hassan (@AnserHassan) July 6, 2020
The woman, who repeatedly screamed back at onlookers who arrived to question why she would paint over the mural, can be heard in the video above saying something like "[This] shit can happen in New York. This is not happening in my town."
The man in the Trump t-shirt is walking around filming with a cell phone as they are verbally taunted. "Racism is a leftist lie," he says. And "All lives matter." He further suggested that anyone killed by the police was "resisting arrest" and therefore deserved it?
"We're sick of this narrative," he also said.
Martinez police have since published the license plate on the car belonging to the couple — if they are indeed a couple — and say they are investigating.
Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal issued a statement saying, "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."
Sappal added, "Please help us identify those that are responsible for this crime, so they can be held accountable for their actions."
As KRON 4 reports, the mural was the work of 100 volunteers who spent about five hours Saturday morning completing it. On Sunday, it was restored, and chalk messages of solidarity were added around it as well.
In a statement on social media, City Councilwoman Noralea Gipner said Sunday, “What happened yesterday to deface that mural was hostility in an ugly form. Permission was given to put that there but permission was not given to deface it."
Anyone with information about the Trump-supporting vandals is asked to call the Martinez Police dispatch center at 925-372-3440.