A black woman in Virginia alleges that a neighbor plays monkey sounds and racial slurs on the speakers to taunt her family from inside their home, but authorities say there is little they can do about it.
Jannique Martinez says her family and other neighbors have been harassed in her Virginia Beach neighborhood for more than a year. reported WAVY, affiliate of NBC.
“Whenever we left our house, the noises of the monkeys would start. It is so racist and disgusting. … I don’t even know how else to explain it, ”Martinez said.
She could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
City officials have described the accusations against the neighbor as “offensive,” but not criminal.
The neighbor, Martinez said, also monitors her family’s movements with multiple home cameras and flashing lights that appear to be connected to sensors.
Martínez told the news outlet that the neighbor’s alleged harassment escalated to monkey noises and audio of racial epithets after she reported him for loud music.
“He found out that we called the police to turn the music down one morning. And it has been non-stop with the N word, ”Martinez said. “My son is terrified of him. Terrified!”
The Virginia Beach Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Thursday.
The department released a statement on the case on Wednesday, describing the neighbor’s behavior as “appalling”, “offensive” and “disgusting.”
The statement, however, said there was little the police could do about it. “The Virginia city attorney and magistrates have separately determined that the actions reported thus far did not rise to a level that Virginia law defines as criminal conduct,” the tweet read. “This means that the VBPD has not had the authority to intervene and the orders were not supported.”
A WAVY reporter tried to speak to the neighbor by knocking on his door, but no one responded.
Martinez told the news agency that she is exasperated after trying to find solutions within the criminal and civil courts. He said the system does not protect his family, and authorities tell him that the neighbor has not attacked or threatened his family.
“I’ve done everything I can to do it the right way,” he said. “I have spent 11 years in the military. My husband is also a veterinarian. We fight for this country, but still, there is no one who fights for us ”.