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Police Mistake Black Teen For Burglar, Pepper Spray Him In White Foster Parents' Home

Officers in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, pepper sprayed 18-year-old DeShawn Currie after he became angry and did not follow instructions, according to police.

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DeShawn Currie, 18, has been living with his white foster parents for about a year. After school Monday, Currie entered his Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, home through an unlocked side door, prompting a neighbor to call police and report a potential burglary, the Associated Press reported.

Three officers responded and followed Currie inside, asking him what he was doing there. In an interview with ABC 11, Currie said he asked them what they were doing in his home. The officers pointed at photos on the mantle showing his white family members and said he didn't belong, Currie said. The address on his ID did not match the home.

According to the Fuquay-Varina Police Department, Currie became "belligerent" and did not follow officers' instructions. One officer used pepper spray on him.

"I know this is where I belong," Currie told ABC 11.

Ricky and Stacy Tyler, Currie's foster parents, said they were hurt by the actions of the police department and neighbor.

ABC 11 / Via

"He's my baby boy just as much as my other three children are," Stacy Tyler told ABC 11.

She arrived home and cleared up Currie's identity. He was treated by paramedics at the home.

The family met Tuesday with the chief of police, and no charges have been filed.

Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at

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