The Caucasian parents of a North Carolina high school student are livid after police mistook their African-American foster child for a burglar and pepper sprayed him in his own home.
Upon seeing 18-year-old DeShawn Currie enter the home of his foster parents, with whom he has been living for approximately a year, enter the unlocked door to the family’s home in July shortly after they moved to Fuquay-Varina home, a neighbor ignorantly assumed the teen was robbing the house.
“He’s my baby boy just as much as my other three children are,” said Stacy Tyler, Currie’s foster mother. She says she left the side door to the home unlocked on Monday for her son, who was coming home early from school.
Shortly after he arrived home, Currie was surprised by three police officers who entered the home.
“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door,'” said Currie. “I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?'” He said that he became angry when the officers pointed at the pictures of the Tylers’ three other children, who are white, as though he did not belong with the nice Caucasian family who lives in the home.
After a brief argument, one of the officers pepper sprayed the teen in the face.
After Stacy Tyler arrived home, she explained to officers that her son did, indeed, belong there — but her other children were left confused.
“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,'” Tyler explained.
“Everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments,” Ricky Tyler, the teen’s father said.
Currie said that he is not sure if he can move on from the horrific treatment at the hands of police, and the irrational suspicion on the part of neighbors.
“I’m feeling comfortable,” he 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.”
Officers justify their actions by saying that Currie became “threatening” and “belligerent,” but provided no evidence of the claim. They say that the neighborhood had recently experienced “criminal activity.”
No charges have been filed, nor have the officers been punished for their horrific actions.