The man accused of playing monkey sounds and racist music whenever his Black neighbors come and go from their home in Virginia Beach has reportedly been identified as a nearly 50-year-old white man who lives with his mother. Social media sleuths claim to have uncovered the name of the man who is seemingly being protected by local police, which claims they are powerless to get him to stop playing the racist recordings that likely disrupt the entire neighborhood and not just the home of the Black family that lives next door.
According to a growing number of reports across social media, John Michael Eskildsen is the name of the man who is accused of setting up multiple surveillance cameras along with motion sensors to automate the playing of music that contains racist, anti-Black slurs and recorded monkey sounds that are on a loop whenever Jannique Martinez and her family arrive to or leave their home.
“Whenever we would step out of our house, the monkey noises would start,” Martinez told local news outlet WAVY, which broke the news last week. “And it’s so racist and it’s disgusting.”
According to one tweet, Eskildsen is 47 years old and has lived at the address in question for about the past 25 years. A number of media outlets have also identified Martinez’s racist neighbor as Eskildsen. Another tweet suggested, “How about tweeters in Virginia Beach pay this guy a (non-violent) visit? Maybe play some audio in front of HIS house??”
Not much beyond the social media reports is known about Eskildsen. However, we probably have all the information we need in order to make an informed judgment about Martinez’s neighbor, whether that person is Eskildsen or not.
CNN played a video that was recorded at Martinez’s home and showed just how loud the monkey noises were and the extent of the racist lyrics, which included lines like: “From now on if a person uses the word N***** it must be at least 7 words away from the word guy.”
Combined, the music and the monkey noises created a chaotic cacophony of racism.
Adding further insult to the mental injuries inflicted on this innocent Black family is the fact that the Virginia Beach Police Department is adamant that it is powerless to get Martinez’s neighbor to stop playing the music and monkey sounds.
“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,” the Virginia Beach Police Department told CNN.
However, a quick review of a noise ordinance in Virginia Beach found that “excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, welfare, peace and safety and the quality of life” and suggests the actions of Martinez’s neighbor are in explicit violation of the city’s noise ordinance. The only “exceptions” to that ordinance are for emergencies or municipal-approved instances.
In particular “No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level that can be heard in another person’s residential dwelling during the hours between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in excess of 55 dBA when measured inside the residence at least four (4) feet from the wall nearest the source, with doors and windows to the receiving area closed.”
Martinez and her family moved into their home five years ago and has consulted a lawyer while exploring their legal options, which have all run into a dead end.
“According to the law, it’s just a statement or a phrase or he’s not doing enough or bodily harm or threats to my family,” Martinez said. “Why does it have to go that far before something that can be done? People shouldn’t have to live like this. I spent 11 years in the military. My husband is also in the military. We fought for this country, but yet there’s no one to fight for us.”