Feud between Garner neighbors over volume of Malcolm X speeches

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- A quarrel between neighbors over Malcolm X speeches -- or rather the volume of those speeches -- is entering its second month.

Mikisa Thompson held a news conference Monday to explain what she says is harassment by the Garner Police Department. However, police say they just want mediation between Thompson and her neighbor.

Thompson said Garner police raided her home during an investigation of a noise complaint that followed a dog fight back in March.

"Mrs Thompson's dog got out of her fenced in yard and into her neighbor's fenced in yard," said Garner police press spokesman Joe Binns. "The two dogs got into a fight, and her dog eventually died of its injuries."

"That is not an issue here," Thompson said about the dog fight during the news conference Monday. "The issue is Malcolm X! Being stopped, and silenced! Not the dog. The dog is already dead!"

She's talking about the Malcolm X speeches she plays while working on her patio.

Her neighbor, Don Barnett, has complained about the excessive noise. ABC11 crews could hear the speech playing as they approached her home for the news conference.

Barnett said that soon after Thompson's dog died at the vet, a sign that said "Racist Killer" appeared on her side of the fence between their homes -- where everyone in his family can see it.

"That's freedom of speech. My dog can't read," Barnett said. "I'm certainly not a killer. "

For him, the issue is excessive volume when Thompson plays her speeches. He says one big speaker, already removed by Garner police during what Thompson describes as a raid, posed a big problem for his family when it was playing loudly.

"It appeared to be intentionally harassing me for something I had no control over," said Barnett.

But Thompson insists: "There is no dispute. There was never a dispute."

She cited several examples of what she and her supporters consider racist acts against her and her family, including what she describes as a raid by Garner police when nine officers removed a speaker and more electronics from her home during more than one visit to address noise complaints.

"The magistrate granted probable cause for a search warrant to seize the speaker," said Binns. "Again, we had a search warrant to enter the house and seize the speaker. We're trying to say, 'you need to turn it down.'"

Binns said the nine officers were needed in order to ensure the safety of the home's occupants and police. He also says they've approached the district attorney about mediation.

Thompson says she has a right to play speeches and other audio on the land that she owns.

Barnett says he's willing to accept mediation. He also says he only wants the volume turned down. But when he tries to discuss it with his neighbor: "She will not will not talk. She will not look at me."

Police spokesman Binns says whether it's Malcolm X speeches, opera or country music, the audio source doesn't matter. Volume does.
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