A 30-year-old Martinez man has been formally charged with two felonies in connection with allegedly waving a loaded firearm during a July 5 argument with defenders of the city’s Black Lives Matter street mural, Contra Costa County prosecutors said Thursday.
Joseph Osuna faces charges of unlawful firearm activity and carrying a loaded firearm owned by someone else, both felonies, and with exhibiting a concealed weapon in public, a misdemeanor, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Osuna faces up to three years in jail if found guilty of all charges.
At about 6 p.m. on July 5, witnesses told police that Osuna yelled “all lives matter” as he drove past the Black Lives Matter mural painted the previous day in front of a Martinez courthouse.
Police said Osuna got into an argument with one of the mural’s defenders, then did a U-turn in his 2015 Jeep, got out and pointed a loaded .22-caliber revolver at that person.
Police were already nearby, and quickly stopped Osuna’s Jeep. Officers recovered the loaded revolver, which is not registered to Osuna, in the vehicle, and arrested him.
The gun-waving incident was one of several tied to pushback on the mural, itself spurred by the June 28 discovery of at least two white pride fliers on a residential sidewalk near downtown.
The yellow mural lettering was barely dry when a woman took a roller and black paint to it, in the presence of several BLM supporters, saying Black Lives Matter “is not happening in my town.”
She was accompanied by a man who was shouting statements, including:
“Racism is a leftist lie.”
Videos of that pair went viral, and they appeared a short time later on a Fox News opinion talk show. Nicole Claudia Anderson, 42, and David Richard Nelson, 53, have each been charged with three misdemeanors, including a hate crime.
On July 7, someone painted the words “White Lives Matter” on another Martinez street. Those words were quickly painted out.
Approximately 2,000 people took part last Sunday in a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest and rally in downtown Martinez. No arrests were made during the event.