In Wake County, N.C., a teenager was pepper sprayed in his own home Monday afternoon when a neighbor mistook him for an intruder.
DeShawn Currie is an 18-year-old African-American living with his foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler, both of whom are white. The Tylers—who have three other children—just moved to Fuquay Varina, N.C. in July and don’t know their neighbors especially well, and clearly the neighbors don’t know them. When DeShawn got home early from school and walked in a side door to the house, a neighbor immediately called police, who in turn descended on the home.
When DeShawn told police that he lived there, police responded by pointing to the mantle (where there were pictures of the Tyler’s three white children) and pepper spraying him. The police offered their own version of events in a statement, saying that DeShawn “became threatening and belligerent” and “would not follow the officers’ instructions.”
Maybe it’s because he was in his own house and didn’t like having his space invaded by cops?
The mix-up over the "break-in" was clearly a sad case of racial profiling, by both the police and the Tyler's neighbors. And there’s also no need for a situation to reach this type of boiling point where an innocent person is being pepper sprayed in his own home.
DeShawn's anger—if he was angry at all—was totally justified. It’s the police’s job in this situation to be level-headed. How hard would it have been for them to just follow him to his room so he could produce something to prove he lived there?
You’d think that in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., police would be a bit more sensitive with how they handle these types of situations, but perhaps that is expecting too much.
[via ABC 11]