Black family says police told them they can’t act on neighbor blasting racial slurs

Activity is ‘not criminally actionable’, Virginia officers say, as family reports neighbor plays slurs and monkey noises

A Black family from Virginia who say their neighbor has been playing recordings of racial slurs and monkey noises since their arrival received no recourse after police deemed their neighbors’ actions “not criminally actionable”, reports CNN.

Five years ago, the Martinez family moved into their dream home in a quiet cul-de-sac of Virginia Beach, about two hours outside of the state’s capital.

“The minute we found this home, I loved it,” said Jannique Martinez to CNN. “It was everything I envisioned for my family and for raising my kids in a nice, quiet neighborhood.”

But soon after, Martinez said a neighbor soon began harassing the couple, blinking lights or playing music whenever her family or another family in the area would leave their home.

“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, in addition to loud music that the neighbor had customized for each family.

Soon after the Martinez family called the local police to complain about the blinking lights and music, Martinez said her neighbor’s erratic behavior escalated. The same neighbor began playing monkey noises whenever Martinez’s family would arrive or leave their house. The neighbor also began playing skits containing racist slurs.

“Since that day he’s been playing [N-word] skits that he found online,” Martinez said, skits that 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-word] guy. Everyone say, ‘Hi [N-word] guy.’”

Even after authorities were alerted about the harassment, the Virginia Beach police department confirmed in a statement that “though appalling”, the neighbor’s actions are “not criminally actionable”.

“He finds ways to stay under the law,” Martinez said. “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,” Martinez said.

Contributor

Gloria Oladipo

The GuardianTramp

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