A teenager in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., was allegedly pepper-sprayed in the face by police Monday who mistook him for a burglar in the home of his white foster family, reported television station WTVD.
A neighbor reportedly alerted police to a break-in after seeing 18-year-old DeShawn Currie walk into the home. Currie has lived there with his white foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler and their three younger children since they moved to Fuquay-Varina in July, reported WTVD.
Three police officers responded to the alleged break-in and entered the home, 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 told the TV station that he got upset when officers pointed to photos of his three younger siblings and noted that he wasn’t pictured. After arguing with the police that he was in his own home, the police allegedly pepper-sprayed him in the face, according to WTVD.
When Stacy Tyler got home, Currie was being treated in the driveway by emergency medical services. Tyler reportedly cleared up the confusion with the police officers, but the whole family has been affected by the incident.
Currie’s foster father Ricky Tyler told WTVD that he was especially dismayed.
“Everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments,” Tyler said.
Currie told WTVD that he picked the Tylers and hoped to find security and love, but Monday’s incident has been difficult to recover from.
“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.”
WTVD reported that the Fuquay-Varina police department released a statement saying officers responded to reports of criminal activity and pepper-sprayed Currie after he refused to follow their directions. The police also told the TV station that the neighborhood has recently been the target of criminal activity.
As of Wednesday no charges have been filed, according to WTVD.