A Black woman from Virginia has spoken about his neighbor who, according to her, has been harassing her family by playing recordings with racial slurs, loud music, and monkey noises.
In an interview with CNN respondent, Don Lemon, Jannique Martinez, who moved to the neighborhood five years ago together with her family, said the harassment started a year and a half after they moved.
According to her, it went on during the day and as soon as any of her family stepped out of their home, lights on her neighbor’s house used to start blinking and triggered a sensor turning on the music and everything was recorded.
“It was just constantly feeling like we are on surveillance and then the music was just the cherry on top. It was a lot,” Martinez said, according to NBC News.
Martinez Talks About How This Affects Her Children
Martinez was asked about how her three kids are affected by their neighbor’s actions. She said that her two older kids handled it very well. “They just ignored him and just knew that you know, he was ignorant, and they paid it no mind.”
But her youngest child, who just turned seven, used to be terrified of their neighbor. Martinez said that her kid has been living in the house since he was two years old, and the harassment is all that he witnessed over the past five years.
“He was terrified. He would be afraid to go get his ball if it ever went over there, or he would just constantly feel like he would come out, and yell at him, which he has before,” she said, adding that the neighbor would also threaten her kids that he will call on the police if they go on his lawn to get a toy.
Family Doesn’t Consider Moving, Has Only Reached Out To The Neighbor Once
When asked about moving out from the house and out of the neighborhood, Martinez admitted that they have not considered it.
Lemon also asked her if she tried speaking and reaching out to the neighbor, to which she only did once, back in September 2020, since her family tries not to talk to him or provoke him.
“One morning, we just began virtual learning in September 2020, and you know, it was a hard time for us all. I’m working remotely and at where our office is, it’s right next to his open window and the music was blaring and I went out there. It was around 8’oclock, we had just logged in from school.”
Martinez said she tried to ask her neighbor to turn the music down at the time and his response to her was, “Well, let me call the police to make sure I’m in good standing with the law to play my music.”
Police Say No Crime is Being Committed; Magistrate And Judge Dismissed Her
CNN tried reaching out to the Virginia Beach Police Department regarding the incident, but according to them, the incident was not “criminally actionable.”
“The observed conduct has been reviewed with the city attorney for potential criminal sanctions; however, it was determined that the activity, though appalling, not criminally actionable,” the department said.
Martinez also shared that every time she calls on police to complain about the noise, officers would always come out and would ask her neighbor to turn down the loud music, and he always does.
But in another incident, her neighbor started playing a recording of what seems to be a direct verbal assault that goes: “From now on, if a person uses the word N****, it must be at last 7 words away from the word guy. It appears that the N**** guy epidemic is over. Oh d*** it I said it.”
She said that during many instances she tried calling the police and expressed to them about the escalation over the recording, but police officers just said that there’s nothing they can do about it and that she needs to go down to her magistrate for help.
To which she did, thinking that it would be the solution for the harassment. But as soon as she went down to the magistrate, she was told that it was just a figure of speech, freedom of speech, or a phrase.
Felt dismissed and clueless about where to stand and what to do, she was told to go to the civil court. Martinez went and according to her, although the judge was a little bit more compassionate, he told her that if the man did not threaten her family, pose any bodily harm, then the court couldn’t do much about it.
Martinez Believes The System Is Not Protecting Her Family
Martinez, deflated and defeated, felt like she couldn’t protect her kids. “I couldn’t imagine living like this while in my own home. I couldn’t imagine. It really broke my heart.”
In an interview with NBC affiliate WAVY, Martinez said that the system is not protecting her family. “I’ve done what I can to do it the right way,” she said. “I’ve spent 11 years in the military. My husband is also a vet. We fought for this country, but yet, there is no one to fight for us.”