FUQUAY-VARINA, NC — A teen was doused with pepper spray and handcuffed when police assumed he was burglarizing the house that he lived in with his foster parents. The confrontation was created a neighbor called 9-1-1 to report a ‘suspicious person’ committing a criminal act when he was only returning home from school.
This was the harassment that befell DeShawn Currie after school on Monday, October 6th, 2014. Currie, 18, had been living with Ricky and Stacy Tyler under their foster care since December 2013.
Currie said he felt loved and accepted in the Tyler family, treated as equal among the other three children. While the Tyler household was functioning cohesively, the community evidently was not.
That afternoon, a busybody neighbor called the government after witnessing Currie, who is black, enter the household of the Tylers, who are Caucasian. The 9-1-1 phone call characterized Currie as a break-in suspect, even though he was just returning home from school as he normally did.
Soon after, three Fuquay-Varina police officers barged in and began threatening the confused student.
“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door,'” Currie recalled to WTVD. “I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?'”
One of the officers noted that Currie’s picture was not among those hanging on the wall. Instead, there were the faces of three small white children.
“Where’s your picture if you say you live here?” one of the officers allegedly asked Currie in disbelief. These insensitive comments provoked the teen and caused him to shout at the officers.
Police characterized Currie as “volatile” and “belligerent” and claimed he resisted their efforts to put him into handcuffs. The hostilities climaxed when police gave Currie a caustic shower their pepper spray canisters.
Aside from having his eyes burned with chemical spray, the teen says that he was hurt for being profiled and accused of not belonging in his own home.
“That was the part that broke my heart, knowing all the work that my husband and I have put into rebuilding his life and giving him a good and normal teenage life,” said Mrs. Tyler to the Associated Press. “You don’t get in foster care and not have scars, and he’s been in foster care a very long time.”