Police Confuse a Black Man Entering His Own Home for a Burglar


It turns out even your own living room isn't safe from racism and police overreach.

Police in North Carolina pepper-sprayed 18-year-old DeShawn Currie inside his own house after a neighbor reported that he was breaking in, according to ABC 11. The white Tyler family has been fostering Currie, who is black, for about a year. When police pointed out the family photos featuring white children as a way to discredit his story, he argued with them, which led to the spraying.

How it happened: The family left the side door unlocked for Currie, who was coming home early from school, according to ABC 11. When a neighbor saw him go in the house, they assumed it was a robbery and called 911. That's when the police came.

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

That's when the officers pointed the white family photos. An officer pepper-sprayed him in the face when he argued, and mother Stacy Tyler came home to find emergency medical services treating him in the driveway.

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

The takeaway: It looks like "going into your own house" and "telling the police that they're in your living room" need to be added to the list of things you can't do in America while black. (Come to think of it, the former might already be there.)

Mother Jones has a tragically extensive roundup of such events, with black men arrested for everything from drinking iced tea in a parking lot to showing up for your job to literally just walking down the street. That's aside from the deaths of those like Trayvon Martin, Michael Dunn and Michael Brown, at the hands of police or their fellow citizens.

Currie and the rest of his family had a meeting with the local police captain, and no charges have been filed. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved," Currie told ABC. "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."

h/t Mother Jones