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Ivette Celedon and her family were gathered Wednesday for a Fourth of July celebration at her father-in-law’s east Petaluma home, where they planned to watch the fireworks display at the nearby fairgrounds and relax to some music. But it was that very music that brought an unfriendly knock on the door.

A bearded white man in shorts, an American flag T-shirt and a American flag bandana tied around his head was standing in the doorway, and he erupted in an angry tirade — using multiple obscenities — about the family’s Spanish-language music.

“You want to do that on the Fourth of July? You want to go in my country…” he said, trailing off.

The confrontation, recorded on a cellphone by Celedon, 30, a third-generation Mexican-American, is part of a 51-second video she posted publicly to Facebook on Wednesday night. By Friday evening it had more than 1 million views.

“I never imagined it would go as big as it has,” Celedon said. The confrontation unsettled many of the dozen or so extended family members gathered at the home. They included children ages 5 through 14.

“I never thought it would happen in my hometown,” she said.

[Editor's note: This video shows a confrontation that includes the use of profanity.]

The man, Larry Lappin, a neighbor unknown to Celedon, left without further incident, but the family contacted Petaluma police, who sent an officer to the home to investigate. The officer offered to contact the neighbor on the family’s behalf, but they declined, according to the Petaluma Police Department.

Lappin, 52, who lives behind the home where Celedon was celebrating with her family, has since apologized to her father-in-law in person, a move made after Celedon posted the video on Facebook.

“I made a mistake. I feel bad for it. I’ve apologized to my neighbor,” he said in an interview Friday. “My life might be ruined.”

He declined to comment further, but expressed concern that his job could be at risk. He told KPIX 5 on Thursday that he had been drinking too much on Independence Day.

“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 Fourth means to me, I felt disrespected,” Lappin told the television station.

The video of his encounter went viral amid heightened tension nationwide over U.S. immigration policy and a searing debate about American identity fueled in large part by President Donald Trump, who staked out strong nationalist themes on the campaign trail and from the White House. On multiple occasions, Trump has voiced his support for Americans to speak English only.

In May, a video circulated online of a white lawyer in New York City who threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on employees of a restaurant for speaking Spanish. That same month, a video surfaced of a Border Patrol agent in Montana who allegedly detained two women for speaking Spanish at a convenience store.

Celedon said it was fear of the man who appeared at her family’s door that prompted her to hit the record button on her cellphone.

The video begins with a view of the living room carpet at her father-in-law’s house, with Lappin yelling in the background. He repeatedly tells those in the house not to play their chosen music on the Fourth of July. Celedon’s sister-in-law then tells Lappin to leave or she’d call police.

“You don’t need to come in here and say that,” she says.

Some of Celedon’s family members are heard speaking in muffled Spanish, which further angers Lappin in the video.

“This is Fourth of July! Yeah, you want to do that, throw it in my face? Just wait motherf----r,” Lappin said.

At that point, Celedon moved the camera’s view from the floor to Lappin’s face.

A man softly tells Lappin: “Stay away. Stay away.”

“I don’t know what you’re f-----’ sayin’” Lappin continued. “Don’t you do that in my country. Yeah, walk away. Do that, respect my f------ country.”

A that point, the door was shut and Lappin left.

The Petaluma officer who responded to the home at the family’s request spoke with them, took notes and offered to contact Lappin for the family, who declined, said Petaluma Police Lt. Ron Klein.

“Essentially there was no crime committed,” Klein said. It’s not illegal to knock doors and walkways are a public right of way unless there’s a gate, which they didn’t have. Lappin hadn’t actually entered the house, but the officer did tell the family to call again if anything else happened, Klein said.

The family ended up watching fireworks from their front yard as planned, and tried not to let the confrontation ruin their holiday completely. But Celedon says life has been a blur since she posted the video online, and it was difficult to explain to her two kids why Lappin confronted them over such a thing as music.

“This is not OK, you can’t do that to people,” said Celedon, who has family members who served in the U.S. military. “We weren’t doing anything to anybody except celebrating.”

Their music wasn’t playing very loud, and Lappin actually had much louder music at the time, Celedon said, but they didn’t complain about it.

Zahyra Garcia, community organizer and co-chair of Indivisible Petaluma, a local chapter of a national civil rights group that formed after Trump’s election, is organizing a private barbecue on Sunday for Celedon and her family.

She said she was not moved by Lappin’s reported apology.

“If you’re going to be an open bigot, be prepared for the consequences,” Garcia said. “This is everybody’s country and they have the right to celebrate how they want.”

Celedon said she has received an outpouring of support from people who watched her viral video online and from people around her.

“It feels nice to have back up from the community,” she said.

The cookout Sunday will have carne asada and an array of Latin music — salsa, bachata, mariachi, banda — and more, Garcia said.

“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.”

Petaluma Argus-Courier News Editor Yousef Baig contributed reporting. Staff Writer Susan Minichiello can be reached at 707‑521-5216 or susan.minichiello@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@susanmini.

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