Larry Lappin is the Petaluma, California man who let loose an angry rant against his neighbors for playing Spanish music on the Fourth of July. Ivette Celedon was celebrating July 4th at her father in law’s home, along with a dozen or so relatives, when Lappin appeared at the porch. She filmed Lappin’s entire tirade, and the video went viral. You can watch it here, but be aware that it contains offensive language.
Lappin finally apologized on the radio today. “I made a huge mistake” he told KPIX 5. “I had been drinking too much and a little thing set me off and it really bugged me.”
But Lappin added, “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,” he said.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Lappin Repeatedly Refers to “My Country” in the Video
In the beginning of the video, the cellphone camera is pointed downward and you can’t see Lappin’s face. But you can hear him. His words sound a bit slurred — Lappin later said that he’d had too much to drink. He says, “you want to do that? On the fourth of July? You want to come to MY country?” A moment later he yells, “Do not disrespect my f***ing country.”
Lappin describes himself as a “patriot.” He told KPIX, “I’m a very patriotic man.” He admitted, “Unfortunately that [action] wasn’t representative of a patriot. Just after a long day [the music] hit me the wrong way.”
Lappin was apparently surprised when he learned that his neighbors had been in America for multiple generations. Ivette Celedon, who filmed Lappin’s rant, is the third generation in her family born in the United States. She is of Mexican descent. Her husband is second-generation.
Ivette also has a family member who has served in the US military.
When Lappin was informed of this, he told KPIX that 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.”
2. Lappin’s Neighbors Called the Police, But No Charges Will Be Brought
Ivette Celedon can be heard on the video telling Lappin that if he doesn’t leave, she’ll call the police. Eventually he left on his own. But Celedon, who said she was scared, called the police anyway.
Petaluma Police Lt. Ron Klein answered the call and came to the home. He offered to go and speak with Lappin, but Celedon and her family declined. Klein said that there was nothing more he could do in this case, although he told Celedon and her family to call the police if anything more happened.
Klein said that since Lappin hadn’t actually entered the house, and hadn’t committed any act of violence, he couldn’t be charged with any crime.
3. Lappin Says He Has Been Sitting By His Window, Waiting for a Chance to Apologize
Lappin told KPIX that he’s been sitting by his window, watching the house next door and waiting for his chance to apologize. He says he is waiting for his neighbor’s work truck to pull up next door so that he can go over and set things right.
KPIX also interviewed Ivette Celedon. She told them that her family has never had a problem with Lappin before. She added that Lappin has a very loud party for the 4th of July every year, but that they have never gone over to complain about the noise. And she stressed that her family’s music wasn’t even very loud.
Celedon wrote on her Facebook page, “So in a family backyard bbq we’re not allowed to have Spanish music because it’s disrespectful to the country????? Land of the free right? Celebrating independence!!! We are celebrating Independence Day just like everyone else! #neverhadaproblemuntil2018”
4. A Community Group Is Organizing a Barbecue For the Celedons This Sunday — Complete With Carne Asada and Latin Music
A progressive community activist group called Indivisible Petaluma is reportedly planning to throw the Celedons a big barbecue this coming Sunday. “It’s a redo of the Fourth for her and her family,” she said. “I think she and her family deserve a cookout and to be proud of who they are.”
Garcia added that they will play salsa, bachata, mariachi, and other Latin music at the barbecue on Sunday. Garcia also brushed aside the news that Larry Lappin wants to apologize.
“If you’re going to be an open bigot, be prepared for the consequences,” Garcia told the Press Democrat. “This is everybody’s country and they have the right to celebrate how they want.”
Indivisible Petaluma’s About Us page says, Our focus: stop the Trump agenda through principles outlined in the Indivisible Guide. Also working to flip districts and support local progressive issues.
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Petaluma is a small city in California’s Sonoma Valley. According to the 2010 census, Petaluma’s total population was 57,941.
12,453 people identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino during the 2010 census. 45,488 identified themselves as non Hispanic or Latino.
The census also reports that there were 2,952 veterans living in Petaluma as of 2016.
37 percent of Petaluma residents have a college degree. The median household income is $80,907.