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Virginia woman says neighbor's racist taunts include speakers playing slurs, monkey noises

Virginia Beach police have described the neighbor's alleged actions as "offensive" but say they don't rise to the level of criminal behavior.

A Black woman in Virginia alleges that a neighbor plays monkey noises and racial slurs over speakers to taunt her family from inside his home, but authorities say there's little they can do about it.

The woman, Jannique Martinez, says her family and other neighbors have been harassed in her Virginia Beach neighborhood for more than a year, NBC affiliate WAVY of Norfolk reported.

"Whenever we would step out of our house, the monkey noises would start. It's so racist, and it's disgusting. ... I don't even know how else to explain it," Martinez said.

IMAGE: Jannique Martinez
Jannique Martinez said music would play loudly over her neighbor's speakers, shaking her home. She said that recently, after she alerted police about the music, her neighbor has retaliated by playing racial slurs and monkey noises.WAVY

NBC News could not immediately reach her for comment Thursday.

City officials have described the neighbor's alleged actions as "offensive" but not criminal.

The neighbor, Martinez said, also monitors her family's movements with multiple home cameras and blinking lights that appear to be hooked up to sensors.

Martinez told WAVY 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 on him to turn down the music one morning. And it's just been nonstop 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 Thursday.

The police department released a statement Wednesday describing the neighbor's behavior as "appalling," "offensive" and "unpleasant."

The statement, however, said there was little police could do. "The city attorney and Virginia magistrates have separately determined that the actions reported thus far did not rise to a level that Virginia law defines as criminal behavior," it said. "This means the VBPD has had no authority to intervene and warrants were not supported."

A reporter for WAVY tried to speak to the neighbor by knocking on his front door, but no one answered.

Martinez told the station that she is exasperated after having tried to find solutions within the criminal and civil courts. She said the system is not protecting her family, with authorities telling her that the neighbor has not assaulted or threatened 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."