A Police Department Sent Almost Every Officer On Duty To The Home Of The Black Woman Listening To A Malcolm X Speech 'Too Loudly'
Local law enforcement seized her electronics in front of her children and issued her a $500 fine.
Update (May 23, 2019): On the night police raided a North Carolina woman's home for a noise complaint, there were only 10 officers on duty, nine of them were at her home.
On May 16, Mikisa Thompson's home was searched and raided by police after her white neighbor, Don Barnette, claimed she was playing a Malcolm X speech too loudly. Garner Police Officers confiscated a MacBook, an HP laptop, a computer monitor, seven iPhones, computer speakers, an alarm clock, and charging cables around 10 p.m.
In a statement sent to The Indy, Captain Joe Binns defended his officers’ actions by stating a speaker was turned in the direction of the neighbor’s home.
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“Our officers did everything they could at the time to try and bring a peaceful conclusion to this issue before seizing the speaker,” Binns wrote. “First, we warned Ms. Thompson and asked her to turn it down. When she refused and received a second complaint, we issued her a citation for violation of the ordinance. And finally, when she continued the loud and unreasonable noise, a search warrant was obtained and the speaker was seized.”
Additionally, Binns said he and his officers were not entirely sure what offended Barnette. Officers assume it was both the volume and the actual content of the Malcolm X speech that riled up the 65-year-old.
According to The Indy, the noise ordinance has vague language that allowed police to decide if the accused violated the law. The time in which the ordinance is in effect is between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Police were called out at 10 p.m. Barnette claimed Thompson played the speeches as early as 7 a.m. but there is no evidence confirming his accusations. The relationship between the two neighbors has been hostile for some time.
The 65-year-old's labrador retriever reportedly killed Thompson's Yorkie in a previous incident. Additionally, in April, Barnette called the police on the Thompson for a similar alleged noise violation.
As a Black person, Thompson feels the police are targeting her family. Garner Police had a previous run-in with her daughter, Takiyah, who was among the activists in the Durham protests in 2017. Since the raid, the victim and her family have relocated to a hotel.
Original: A North Carolina woman had her electronics seized in a home raid by Garner Police Department officials after her white neighbor complained that she was listening to Malcolm X speeches too loudly. According to The Indy, the incident occurred Thursday night at 10 p.m. Originally, Mikisa Thompson's children captured the ambush on camera, but video of the incident has since been removed.
"The raid was officially insane and based on an unconstitutional statute," Thompson’s attorney, T. Greg Doucette said to The Indy. "Doing a midnight raid with nine officers—over a noise ordinance, of all things—is a disproportionate show of force that shows there’s something else at play. That’s the type of overkill that’s intentionally designed to terrorize and punish people, not to actually do what's necessary for enforcing the case."
The news outlet reports that a minimum of six officers remained outside while other blocked traffic on the street. After reading her a search warrant, they nabbed a MacBook, an HP laptop, a computer monitor, seven iPhones, computer speakers, an alarm clock, and charging cables.
Law enforcement also charged Thompson with a class-three misdemeanor of violating her city's noise code, which results in a maximum $500 penalty.
Per Law & Crime, the grievance was filed by Thompson's 65-year-old neighbor Don Barnette, who complained to authorities that she was playing "amplified speech being projected by some sound amplification device." Barnette presented authorities footage of when Thompson was allegedly blasting the speeches, with time stamps of 12:46 pm, 12:49 p.m., and 1:22 p.m.
Barnette insists he's not racist. He claims that he just interpreted the Malcolm X speech Thompson was playing as an "Islamic Jihadist-type message."
"I don't have anything against any Black person that acts like they’ve got sense," he told The Indy.
This is not the first time officers have appeared Thompson's home due to a complaint by her neighbor. On April 22, Barnette also phoned police after Thompson was playing "loud Islamic-Muslim preaching" in her backyard while cleaning her deck. When officials arrived that day, officers took off with Thompson's stereo and wrote her a $50 fine.
The first application for the warrant on Mikisa Thompson on 4/22/19 for playing Malcolm X then I was raided for another radio on 5/16/19 for playing Malcom X my crime living while Blackhttps://t.co/Ju18HJyF2x https://t.co/3ziFIHrduT— MikisaThompson (@Blackmomrade) May 20, 2019
Thompson has been summoned to appear in court on June 24.