By Joe Vazquez

(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.

Comments (27)
  1. tell him if he wants to be patroitc he shouldn’t wear the flag as clothing per flag act…but of course he doesn’t know about that…

    1. Eric Jean says:

      right? shame so many so called “Patriots” don’t even know the flag code…..

      1. FOR REAL. I see beach towels designed to look exactly like the flag, and there they are on the ground with people’s butts on them … people who are buying them to demonstrate their patriotism … seriously SMH.

  2. Terri Hemker says:

    When my German ancestors came here, they sang German songs. Same with my French ancestors. The next town over celebrates a Polish Festival and the Polish people still sing the songs of their ancestors and dance and play Polish music. What is the definition of America? Is it only English straight white culture?

  3. This is NOT an apology. It is the lame response EVERY alcoholic uses after they have verbally and/or physically abused someone.This man needs to shamed out of existence. So what? the next time he’s drunks and “a little thing sets him off” he shows up with a gun, OR some one shoots him in self defense?
    This trupian needs to admit himself to AA and all ALL of his neighbors need to be made aware that he is a volatile person so they can protect themselves f

  4. This is NOT YOUR Country, you POS!

  5. Sarah McCoy says:

    There were Spanish-speaking people living in California many years before the ancestors of this idiot set foot in Petaluma. Racist P.O.S.

  6. Mark Allen says:

    Unbelievable, its Independence day. A day that was literally a celebration of liberation from an oppressive country. Of all the Holidays this is one that should permit liberty and freedom of expression. Yet this racist white supremacy a-hole wants to oppress an entire group based on race?

    The police should have been called on this a-hole.

  7. If it weren’t for the negative attention or fear of losing his job, would this so-called “patriot” have even attempted to apologize? Oh, and love how he suddenly did a 180 after learning about his neighbors’ military service and family history of US citizenship…last I checked, all people should be free to play their music w/o some drunken redneck threatening them.

  8. This is why I prefer to work on July 4 is because it lessens the chance of coming across someone like this.