Police in Martinez, Calif., are looking for two vandals who did their work in broad daylight with cameras rolling. The controversy revolves around a large Black Lives Matter mural painted on a city street outside the county courthouse. Details:
- The mural: It went up Saturday after organizers obtained a city permit, reports CBS San Francisco. About 100 volunteers spent the morning completing the project, which was crowdfunded for $800.
- Quick opposition: The mural was up about an hour when a white couple arrived, and the woman began rolling black paint over the yellow letters, per the Washington Post. "This is not happening in my town," the woman told onlookers. Her male companion, wearing a MAGA hat and a "Four More Years" Trump shirt, said: "We're sick of this narrative, that's what's wrong. The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism. It's a lie."
- Police hunt: Martinez police released video and photos of the couple hoping to identify them. "The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner,” said police chief Manjit Sappal. Martinez is about 45 minutes northeast of San Francisco.
- Surprised: One of the mural organizers, Justin Gomez, tells the New York Times that "I'm not so surprised that it happened. I'm surprised at how bold they chose to be." Gomez had gone home at 2:30pm on Saturday, as the yellow paint was still drying. Thirty minutes later, he started getting texts about the vandalism.
- Another incident: Police arrested a man who pulled a gun on a Black Lives Matter supporter near the site of the mural on Sunday, reports ABC7. The driver yelled "All lives matter!," then made a U-turn and pulled a gun on a young man who began following his truck on a skateboard, says the station. No word on charges.
- Back and forth: During the Saturday vandalism, onlookers called the white couple racist, and one person managed to steal away a paint can from the woman. "Keep America great again, that's right,” the man told the onlookers at one point. "Why don't you guys learn about history and the Emancipation Proclamation Act? Yeah, that's right, Abraham Lincoln. You're only free because of our forefathers."
- It's back: The couple apparently covered just the letters "B" and "L" before leaving, and the letters were repainted in about an hour.
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