DeShawn Currie, 18, has lived with his foster parents, Ricky and Stacy Tyler, who are white, for about a year. Monday afternoon, Currie was walking into his home's unlocked side door when a neighbor spotted him and, believing he was breaking in, called 911. Police quickly responded and confronted Currie inside the house.
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.
In a statement, Fuquay-Varina police claim they pepper sprayed Currie after he became "threatening and belligerent." They also mentioned rash of recent break-ins in the neighborhood.
Stacy Tyler said the incident has left her family outraged and confused.
"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 WTVD. "He's my baby boy just as much as my other three children are."
"Everything that we've worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments," her husband Ricky added.
For his part, Currie said the brush with police has left him feeling unwelcome in his own home. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved," he said. "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."