A Black family in Virginia Beach, Virginia, claims their neighbor has been intimidating them with loud music, flashing lights, and audio recordings of racial slurs and monkey noises. However, complaints to authorities proved to do nothing after law enforcement said while the events may be “appalling, it is not criminally actionable.”
Jannique Martinez raved to CNN’s Don Lemon about finding her family’s current home nearly five years ago, telling the outlet, “The minute we found this home, I loved it.” She added, “I was everything I envisioned for my family and for raising my kids in a nice, quiet neighborhood.”
However, a troublesome neighbor soon turned those dreams into a nightmare, and it all began with blinking lights. “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 said. “When the sensors are activated, loud music begins to play. He switches the music based on the family that is activating the music.”
The woman told the outlet that when she reported her neighbor, whose identity has not been made public, his antics only worsened, switching the music to monkey noises and racist skits.
“Since that day he’s been playing n-gger skits that he found online,” she said. The skits reportedly say things like, “Black people have nothing better to do but go to a comedy club on a Friday night,” and, “Hey, everyone, look, it’s n-gger guy. Everyone say, ‘Hi, n-gger guy.'”
The mother told local news WAVY that the man taunts her school-age children when they’re outside playing, saying her “son is terrified of him. Terrified. Terrified.” She added, “The N-word situation. … They came to me and said, ‘Mom, what’s that?’ I didn’t subject my kids to that. I didn’t think they would ever have to learn what this means.”
However, Martinez says hers isn’t the only family being tormented by the neighbor in that neighborhood. “The minute I open my front door, those lights blink, or my music, or ‘my song’ comes on. Soon as they get to their driveway, it blinks, they have a specific song too,” the woman told reporters while pointing to a nearby home in the cul de sac.
Other complaints included eight cameras on the man’s property which have put his neighbor under constant surveillance.
In a statement to CNN, the Virginia Beach Police Department said that they were “acutely aware of the ongoing situation.” They noted that “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.”
A spokesperson for the department further iterated that statement but revealed that had received a total of nine complaints pertaining to the neighbor, the majority of which were nuisance complaints, while three referenced parking/traffic.
No charges have been filed against the man. Police said his actions would have to meet certain criteria for criminal charges to proceed.
“According to the law, it’s just a statement or a phrase or he’s not doing enough or bodily harm or threats to my family,” Martinez told local reporters. “Why does it have to go that far before something that can be done? People shouldn’t have to live like this. I spent 11 years in the military. My husband is also in the military. We fought for this country, but yet there’s no one to fight for us.”