Police Pepper-Sprayed Teen in His Own Home After Mistaking Him for Intruder

An African-American teenager was pepper-sprayed in his home after being mistaken for an intruder, WTVD 11 reports.


The incident began Monday afternoon in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., when DeShawn Currie was coming home from school. Currie, who lives with his white adoptive parents and their three young children, entered his house through a side door that his foster mother, Stacey Tyler, had left unlocked for him. When a neighbor saw the teen enter the home, the person called 911 to report a break-in. Three cops soon showed up, surprising Currie. 

"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" Currie said. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"

Currie said he became upset after officers pointed to pictures on the wall of the Tylers' three natural-born children, all of whom are white, suggesting he was lying about belonging in the house. After a brief argument with officers, Currie was pepper-sprayed in the face. By the time his foster mom arrived, EMS workers were treating Currie in the driveway. Tyler cleared up the issue with the cops, but says the family has been left damaged as a result.

"He's my baby boy just as much as my other three children are," she 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.'"

Here is more from WTVD:

"Everything that we've worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments," said Ricky Tyler.

DeShawn said he chose this family with a hope of security and love, but now he's not sure if he'll ever be able to move on.

"I'm feeling comfortable," explained DeShawn. "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."

Fuquay-Varina police released a statement Monday saying officers responded to a report of suspicious criminal activity at the Tyler's home.

Officers said DeShawn became threatening and belligerent. When he would not follow the officers' instructions, they pepper-sprayed him.

Police also point out in their statement that the neighborhood where this happened has recently experienced criminal activity.

The Tylers and Currie met with officials from the Fuquay-Varina Police Department Tuesday afternoon for several hours.

No charges were filed.

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