Black teenager pepper-sprayed by police in his own home

You can't spin this to be an instance of anything other than racial prejudice

Published October 8, 2014 2:15PM (EDT)

                          (<a href=''>dominikherz</a> via <a href=''>iStock</a>)
(dominikherz via iStock)

18-year-old DeShawn Currie had only been Ricky and Stacy Tyler's foster child for about a year when neighbors mistook the black teen for a burglar as he entered the family home.

The Tylers, a white family with the exception of DeShawn, had only lived in Fuquay-Varina, N.C. since July, so the neighbors hadn't gotten to know the family very well. That's why, when a neighbor saw DeShawn walk into their home early Monday afternoon, that neighbor called 911, mistaking the teen for a burglar.

"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" said DeShawn in an interview with a local television station. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"

ABC 11 reports:

DeShawn said he became angry when officers pointed out the pictures of the Tyler's three younger children on the mantle, assuming he didn't belong there. An argument ensued and DeShawn said one of the officers pepper-sprayed him in the face.

By the time Stacy came home, EMS were treating DeShawn in the driveway. She cleared up the confusion with the officers, but not with the rest of her family.

"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.'"

"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.

"I'm feeling comfortable," said DeShawn. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved. And then when they come in and 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."

By Joanna Rothkopf

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