A North Carolina teenager was pepper sprayed in his home this week after police mistook him for an intruder. DeShawn Currie, a black 18-year-old being fostered by a white family, had just walked home from school when the incident happened.
Police arrived at Currie’s home after a neighbor reported him as an intruder. According to ABC 11, the neighbor saw Currie walk into the house through a side door and assumed he was there illegally. In reality, Currie was just entering the home through the door his foster mother, Stacy Tyler, left unlocked for him.
When police arrived at the home, they immediately treated Currie as an intruder.
"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" Currie told ABC 11. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"
Police told Currie they didn’t believe he lived at the home, and pointed to pictures of white children on the walls as evidence. This angered Currie, and an argument ensued between him and the officers. An officer pepper sprayed Currie during the argument.
A statement from the Fuquay-Varina Police Department said Currie was “threatening and belligerent” during the argument.
Currie and his foster parents are furious, though, and claim police never should have been at the home in the first place.
“He’s my baby boy just as much as my other three children are,” Stacy Tyler said. “My 5-year-old last night, she looked at me and said, 'Mama I don't understand why they hated our brother, and they had to come in and hurt him.'"
Currie says the jarring incident happened at a time when he was finally feeling like another member of the Tyler family.
"I'm feeling comfortable," Currie said. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved. And then when they come in and they just profile me and say that I'm not who I am. And that I do not stay here because there was white kids on the wall, that really made me mad."