(KPIX 5) — A Petaluma man has offered his apologies after he was caught on camera cursing his neighbors in a racist tirade over playing Spanish-language music on the Fourth of July.
The video doesn’t show his face at first.
The cellphone camera points downward as an angry white man is heard scolding his Latino neighbors at their front door for playing music in Spanish. Eventually, the camera is raised and the man’s animated face heard yelling that nobody should “disrespect my f***ing country” and “you want to do that on the Fourth of July … throw it in my face?”
Ivette Celedon of Petaluma told KPIX 5 she shot the cellphone video Wednesday after her backyard neighbor showed up complaining about the music her family was playing as they waited for the city-sponsored fireworks show.
“My father-in-law has a speaker out back and it wasn’t that loud, especially not over their loud music that they have a July 4th party every year,” Celedon said. “And we have never complained about them.”
The video, posted on Facebook, has been viewed nearly 300,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.
Warning: explicit language
“So in a family backyard bbq we’re not allowed to have Spanish music because it’s disrespectful to the country?????” Celedon posted on Facebook. “Land of the free right? Celebrating independence!!! We are celebrating Independence Day just like everyone else! #neverhadaproblemuntil2018.”
Celedon said she is a 3rd-generation American citizen of Mexican descent who has a family member who has served in the U.S. military. Her husband is a 2nd-generation American citizen.
In the video, the neighbor, identified as Larry Lappin, appears to threaten the family: “This is the 4th of July. Just wait, m**** f****.”
In a phone interview on July 5th, Lappin told KPIX 5 he is sorry.
“I made a huge mistake,” Lappin said. “I had been drinking too much and a little thing set me off and it really bugged me.”
Lappin said he has been watching out his window for the work truck of the homeowner to arrive so that he could walk over and apologize to the family in person.
“Sometimes I wish they would assimilate more. I hear them playing [Spanish language] music in the backyard all the time and it doesn’t bother me. Because of the day and what July 4th means to me, I felt disrespected,” Lappin said.
“I’m a very patriotic man,” said Lappin. “Unfortunately that [action] wasn’t representative of a patriot. Just after a long day [the music] hit me the wrong way.”
When Lappin was informed that the family has been in America for multiple generations with family members who served in the military, Lappin declared they should be able to play the music of their choice.
“Those are things I didn’t know about them and those are things that make what I did very bad,” he said. “[Playing the music of their choice] is the freedom they are afforded by the people who serve this country.”
“I made a terrible mistake,” he repeated.