A family whose lives have been made ‘miserable’ by a neighbour say the police told them the use of racial slurs and monkey noises is ‘not criminally actionable’.
Jannique Martinez and her family moved into their ‘dream’ home in a suburban neighbourhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia, five years ago, but she said they have since been targeted by ‘harassment’ and ‘surveillance’ by a male neighbour whenever they leave or return to their house.
Martinez, who is Black, said the harassment initially began with blinking lights and loud music that would play whenever her family or others in the neighbourhood returned home, with the sensor-activated music reportedly changed ‘based on the family that is activating the music’.
‘We are all on surveillance 24/7 with cameras in every direction of his home’ Martinez told CNN, adding that the harassment soon began to take on a racist dimension directly targeting her and her family.
‘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, adding that after they called the police on him, the neighbour has been playing recording of ‘N***** skits,’ from comedy routines making fun of Black people.
Yet incredibly, in a statement to CNN, Virginia Beach Police Department said that they were unable to take action against the man.
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.
Martinez says that her family is ‘heartbroken’ at the situation, and that she’s none the wiser as to his reasons for the harassment. ‘He can’t be wrong in the eyes of the law. He doesn’t care about the morals,’ she said. ‘It feels hopeless and sad. I’m so drained.’
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