Police officers in Garner, North Carolina, raided Mikisa Thompson’s home last Thursday night after receiving calls saying she played Malcolm X speeches “too loudly.”
Thompson has officially been accused of “amplified speech being projected by some sound amplification device,” according to a search warrant issued by the Garner PD. The raid followed an April 22 911 call placed by neighbor Don Barnette, who claimed Thompson played “loud, Islamic-Muslim preaching.”
When police arrived after the initial call, Thompson began to film the exchange and asked why she didn’t have the right to listen to what she wants in her own home.
Thompson continued to play her speeches, which led to more calls, and eventually a late-night raid.
“My children were terrified,” she told Indy Week. “I was terrified that there was a whole bunch of men with guns in my house.”
T. Greg Doucette, Thompson’s attorney, added, “The raid was officially insane and based on an unconstitutional statute. 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.”
During the raid, officers seized her speaker, which they claimed was pointed at Barnette’s house.
“Our officers did everything they could at the time to try and bring a peaceful conclusion to this issue before seizing the speaker,” Captain Joe Binns wrote in an email to Indy Week. “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. While I cannot make an inference as to whether Mr. Barnette took issue with the content of the noise, our officers were only concerned about how loud the noise was and the fact that we had a valid noise complaint from a neighbor.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.