Authorities in Virginia have said they can’t bring charges against a neighbor accused of harassing a Black family by constantly playing loud music as well as recordings of racial slurs and monkey noises.
According to CNN, the Martinez family moved to their Virginia Beach cul-de-sac neighborhood about five years ago. But their dreams of peacefully settling in and raising their family would later be marred with alleged constant harassment from their neighbor.
Speaking with the news outlet, Jannique Martinez said the neighbor in question has been harassing them with blinking lights and playing loud music as well as recordings of racial slurs and monkey noises. “I’m not going to lie, if I had any imagination it would be like this, we would have not bought this house. I would never sign up for this,” Martinez said.
The Black woman said the neighbor started making their lives a living hell through blinking lights. And they were not the only ones at the receiving end too.
“We noticed a little erratic behavior like these blinking lights that are on a sensor. When my family or any other family leaves or returns to their homes, they all start to blink,” Martinez recalled. “When the sensors are activated, loud music begins to play. He switches the music based on the family that is activating the music.”
Martinez, who said the neighbor also has several 24/7 surveillance cameras installed on his property, added that the neighbor recently started playing monkey sounds from his home. “My husband parked his truck on the street in front of his house, which is city property, and instead of music, he started playing monkey noises,” she said.
Martinez said the monkey noises are now played by the neighbor anytime they arrive or leave their home. And after they reported his actions to law enforcement on a number of occasions, Martinez said things got worse.
“Since that day he’s been playing N—– skits that he found online,” she said, adding that recordings in some of the skits say, “Black people have nothing better to do but go to a comedy club on a Friday night,” and, “Hey everyone, look it’s N—– guy. Everyone say, ‘hi N—– guy.’”
But despite the neighbor’s actions, the Virginia Beach Police Department said they cannot bring charges against him. “The observed conduct has been reviewed with the City Attorney for potential criminal sanctions; however, it was determined that the activity, though appalling, is not criminally actionable,” the Virginia Beach Police Department said in a statement to CNN.
“He finds ways to stay under the law,” said Martinez. “He can’t be wrong in the eyes of the law. He doesn’t care about the morals.”
“It feels hopeless and sad. I’m so drained,” she added.
Meanwhile, Martinez also told The Virginian-Pilot she is looking at having her children undergo counseling. “I hope the commonwealth finds a way to protect people from situations like this,” Martinez said. “Your Black and brown people are important. I feel like if maybe it were the flip side, and [we] were a white family, I feel I would’ve gotten way further already.”