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Neighbors call 911 on black teen, cops pepper-spray him in his own home

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Black teen in white foster home mistaken for burglar, pepper-sprayed by cops

Racial profiling hit far too close to home for a North Carolina family earlier this week. Black high school student DeShawn Currie lives with white foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler. When DeShawn headed home from school, neighbors called 911 and reported him as an intruder.

Three police officers quickly arrived at the Tylers' home, startling DeShawn. According to the teen, the officers didn't believe him when he said he was in his own home. He says they pointed to a photo of the Tylers' three younger children on the mantel as proof he didn't belong there. When DeShawn became upset and refused to submit to the police in his own home, the officers pepper-sprayed him.

"Everything that we've worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments," dad Ricky Tyler told ABC11. While DeShawn has recovered from his exposure to pepper spray, the entire family is shaken by the incident. The Tylers say their 5-year-old asks why the police came into the house to hurt her older brother.

Regardless of whether or not DeShawn had an attitude with the police, the fact remains that he was accused of breaking into his own home because he was black. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved," DeShawn said when interviewed after the incident. "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." Sadly, this is nothing new. Transracial families face discrimination on a regular basis, especially in predominantly white areas.

Before you point out that DeShawn was disobeying the cops' orders, imagine how you would respond if it was your child being frightened by officers in your own home. Think about it. What teen would remain calm while being falsely accused and treated like a criminal?

More on foster care

Why I chose to become a foster parent
You don't need to be a foster parent to change a child's life
The foster care adventure

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