Black woman in Virginia alleges neighbor is playing monkey noises and racial slurs on loudspeakers to taunt her family from inside her home, but authorities say they can’t do much about it- thing.
The woman, Jannis Martinez, said her family and other neighbors have been harassed in her Virginia Beach neighborhood for over a year, NBC affiliate WAVY of Norfolk reported.
“Every time we walked out of our house the monkey noises would start. It’s so racist and disgusting.… I don’t even know how to explain it any other way,” Martinez said.
NBC News was unable to reach her immediately for comment on Thursday.
City officials called the neighbor’s alleged actions “offensive” but not criminal.
The neighbor, Martinez said, is also monitoring his family’s movements with several home cameras and flashing lights that appear to be connected to sensors.
Martinez told WAVY that the neighbor’s alleged harassment turned into monkey noises and audio of racial epithets after she denounced him for loud music.
“He found out that we called the police on him to turn the music down one morning. And it went on and on with the N word,” Martinez said. “My son is terrified of him. Terrified!
The Virginia Beach Police Department did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on Thursday.
The police department released a statement on Wednesday describing the neighbor’s behavior as “appalling”, “offensive” and “unpleasant”.
The statement, however, said there was little the police could do. “The city attorney and Virginia magistrates have separately determined that the actions reported so far have not reached a level that Virginia law defines as criminal behavior,” he said. “This means that the VBPD did not have the power to intervene and the mandates were not supported.”
A WAVY reporter tried to speak to the neighbor by knocking on his front door, but no one answered.
Martinez told the station she was exasperated after trying to find solutions in criminal and civil courts. She said the system did not protect her family, with authorities telling her the neighbor had neither assaulted nor threatened her family.
“I did what I could to do it the right way,” she said. “I spent 11 years in the military. My husband is also a veterinarian. We fought for this country, but yet there is no one to fight for us.”