Police mistook a black teenager for a burglar and pepper-sprayed him inside the home of his white foster parents, authorities said Wednesday.
Responding to a neighbor's report of a break-in, police said they used pepper spray Monday when 18-year-old DeShawn Currie "became profane, threatening and belligerent" and "refused to follow instructions" from officers.
Currie told WTVD he became angry when three officers showed up inside the home and noted that he was not included in family photos on a mantle.
"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" DeShawn told the television station. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"
Currie's foster parents, Ricky and Stacy Tyler, said he has been with them for about a year. The Tylers, their three young children and Currie moved into their new home in July and don't know all their neighbors in the suburban Raleigh town of Fuquay-Varina, the Tylers said.
Police said there had spate of crimes in the area recently, but did not specifically say how many or what kind. Authorities said when they entered the house, Currie produced identification showing another address.
"In an effort to calm Mr. Currie, the police officer asked him several times to have a seat, which he refused," police said Wednesday in a statement. "Mr. Currie became increasingly belligerent and profane and the police officer attempted to restrain Mr. Currie with handcuffs to insure the police officer's and Mr. Currie's safety. Mr. Currie then struck the police officer's left arm, knocking the handcuffs to the floor."
Police have not said how many officers entered the home, their length of service with the department or their race. Currie was treated by medical personnel at the scene, police said. No charges were filed.
- The Associated Press