Black Teen With White Parents Mistaken For Burglar, Assaulted By Cops In His Own Home

‘Put your hands on the door, I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ Police pointed at photos of white people hanging on the wall and told him that he was lying.

A North Carolina teen was recently assaulted and pepper sprayed by police in his own home, after he was mistaken for a burglar.  18-year-old DeShawn Currie has been living with foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler in Wake County, North Carolina for about a year.

The Tylers love DeShawn as their own son and they have taken him into their home, in hopes to provide him the safe and loving environment that he needs to thrive in the most important years of his life.

Unfortunately, some of the Tyler’s neighbors were not familiar with the family dynamics of the home, and decided to call the police to report a burglary when they saw the young man entering his home after school one day.  DeShawn did not climb through a window or struggle to get inside, but simply walked through the unlocked door of the home.  The only thing that actually made his neighbors suspicious, was the color of his skin.

When police arrived on the scene they treated DeShawn like a criminal without asking any questions.

“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door, I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?” DeShawn said in an interview.

When DeShawn asked the officers why they were in his home, they pointed at photos of white people hanging on the wall and told him that he was lying.

“I’m feeling comfortable, I had moved into my room, and I’m feeling like I’m loved. 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,” DeShawn later told reporters.

During the entire altercation, police were shouting profanity at the young man, and pointing multiple guns at his face.  When DeShawn stood firm and insisted that he was in fact in his own home, police attacked him with pepper spray.

When Stacy Tyler came home from work she saw her son DeShawn in the driveway being treated by paramedics for the injuries that police had inflicted.

“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,” Stay Tyler told reporters.

“Everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments,” father Ricky Tyler added.

The police department has defended their actions, saying that that DeShawn did not obey the officer’s orders to the letter, despite the fact that they were intruders in his home and had no right to be there barking orders at him.


Officer: ‘Put your hands on your head. Right here. Come on back.’

Barbour: ‘What is wrong? My kids!’

Officer: ‘How old are they?’

Barbour: ‘They’re six and eight and ten, nine. What are we doing?’

Officer: ‘Hold on a second, okay?’

Barbour: ‘What is going on? Oh my God, you will terrify my children.’

Officer: ‘We got a complaint of a vehicle matching your description and your license plate, waving a gun out the window.’ (Description: Tan Vehicle - Barbour’s vehichle color: Burgundy)

Officer 1: ‘Do they look young to you?’

Officer 2: ‘They do to me.’

Officer 1: ‘Huh?’

Officer 2: ‘They do to me.’

Officer 1: ‘Yep, they’re young.’

Officer 1: [To other officers] ‘Gun down, gun down, gun down.’

Officer 1: [As the child exits the vehicle] ‘Come on back here, son. Come on back here, you’re alright.’

Officer: ‘Y’all okay?’

Child: ‘I’m scared.’

Officer: ‘It’s okay.’

Child: ‘Are we going to jail?’

Officer: ‘No. No one is going to jail.’

Child: [Scream, crying]

Officer: ‘Hey, stop crying. It’s okay. It’s okay. Everything’s fine now.

No officer, everything is NOT fine now. You and your partners should be fired.

Has a clerk refused to show you something because you looked "iffy"?


So, ya’ll have read about Oprah and the salesclerk at some chi-chi Swiss handbag boutique, right? Ms. Winfrey wanted to see a purse that retailed for just under $40,000. The clerk repeatedly told her it was very expensive and wouldn’t show it to her. 

Have any of you had a similar thing happen, where you were mistaken for being a shoplifter or just too poor to buy the item in question?

I have, on a much smaller scale. My mother and I were at a department store looking at lipsticks a while back. She wanted to get a new shade. Nothing too fantabulous. Just something summery, for about $20. The store was not busy at all. There were no other customers. The two clerks continued to chat away with each other, never bothering to ask if we needed any help.

When I finally told them we’d like to see how one shade looked on my mom, one of the women rolled her eyes and said, “Well, that’s very expensive, you know.” She didn’t take one step to come over to us.

It didn’t really occur to me right then what was going on. Thinking that there could be a possibility that this particular lipstick might be $100 (which is just too much, no matter how pretty it is), I said, “Oh, how much does it cost?”


Yes, she thought we wouldn’t have $20 between us.

I know that people are often judged on how they’re dressed. We weren’t dressed poorly. But, what if we had been? So. What? 

I told her how rude and presumptuous she was. She smiled smugly.

I also told her that I was meeting with the store’s executives in a few hours for a fashion layout I was coordinating. I would be telling them that the reason I’m selecting a competing store for the editorial spread is because of her laziness, prejudice and overall lack of customer service.

She blanched, offered to buy that $20 lipstick for my mother, but never apologized.

I said, “No, thank you. Why don’t you buy it for yourself to try to hide your true colors?”

I almost never come up with zingers when I’m in the moment. I think this one was one of my better ones, because it truly captured how I felt. Minus the swearing.




Photo source: Flickr

A Profile of the Average U.S Serial Killer

[The tables in this report are based on information from the Radford University Serial Killer Database. The purpose of the database is to gather data so that researchers and teachers will have accurate information about serial killers.

In 2012, Radford University partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University to ensure that the database is continually updated and that summary reports will be made available on an annual basis.

When citing information from this report, the following reference should be used:

Aamodt, M. G. (2013, February 20). Serial killer statistics. Retrieved (insert date of retrieval) from killer information center/projectdescription.htm

Questions about the database or the statistics in this report can be addressed to Dr. Mike Aamodt at Radford University,]

A little black boy near Dionthesocialist just got shot in the head in cold blood. I think that makes 30 innocent black bodies dead by police or law enforces. But no. Keep saying nigga as if it's okay. Act like this isn't a problem. Remember as you are having fun with your little meme and having a good old joke about something "not so serious" remember that a young boy was killed for no fucking reason because the police thought he was a dangerous nigger. So keep on fucking laughing and pushing it off as not a big deal. It so much of a big deal for black people that we are being shot around the clock because of it. Fuck you assholes. Fuck you.


This diagram illustrates how overpolicing and profiling of low income people and of trans and gender non-conforming people intersect, producing a far higher risk than average of imprisonment, police harassment, and violence for low income trans people.

criminalization of poor and homeless people

  • Subject to profiling and harassment; excessive police presence in poor communities; increased exposure to police
  • Charged with survival crimes (sex work, drugs, theft, etc.) due to lack of access to gainful employment or education
  • Charged with "Quality of Life" crimes like sleeping outside, turnstile jumping, loitering, etc. due to lack of resources (housing, money)

criminalization of trans people

  • False arrest for using the "wrong" bathroom
  • False arrest for lack of proper documents (by INS, police, etc.)
  • Trans women are often falsely arrested for soliciting just for being transgender

Low-income trans people are exposed to arrests, police harassment, incarceration and violence far more than the average person

Trans people suffer additional gender-related harms while in custody of the criminal justice system

  • Isolated and/or subjected to increased sexual violence, harassment, and abuse at the hands of prisoners and correctional facility staff.
  • Gender-segregated arrest procedures (searches, holding cells, policies and procedures, etc.) do not accommodate trans people. Low-income trans-people are especially targeted due to lack of access to health care that would help them “pass” as non-trans people, as well as surgical procedures, and are commonly misclassified by arresting officers as “male” or “female” based on their appearance or whether they’ve had genital surgery.
  • Denied access to hormones and other trans-specific health care while incarcerated. Forced to change gendered characteristics of appearance in prison (made to cut hair, give up prosthetic, clothing). This results in mental anguish and increased exposure to harassment and violence because appearance may conform even less to gender identity.

But the real story is not how the news got it wrong—there’s been plenty of that since Monday. It’s how, mere hours later after telling a bullshit story, the news simply told a new story and expunged the previous one from its memory. Real-time accuracy isn’t always possible in journalism. But no one can call himself a journalist if he can’t acknowledge in the present what he got wrong in the past.

Gawker: Everybody Named the Wrong Boston Suspects Last Night and Promptly Forgot.


Watch: Cop wrongly pulls over black Princeton students, apologizes and gives them a gift

After pulling over four black students for driving with a “broken taillight” that wasn’t actually broken, a police officer — who is also black — did the unthinkable: he gave them free parking in front of a Princeton hotel and engaged in a productive dialogue about why his alleged “profiling” hurt them.

One of the students tells the officer, “As black students, we don’t feel like we get that level of protection. We don’t get that benefit of the doubt that … regular white students running around Princeton campus get.”

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UC Berkeley Students Arrested, Tackled for “Walking while Black” and Copwatching

We really need to get this video out there!

A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb. He wasn’t alone; a hundred and seventy-six people were injured. But he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force,” as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a “phalanx” of officers and agents and two K9 units. He was the one whose belongings were carried out in paper bags as his neighbors watched; whose roommate, also a student, was questioned for five hours (“I was scared”) before coming out to say that he didn’t think his friend was someone who’d plant a bomb—that he was a nice guy who liked sports. “Let me go to school, dude,” the roommate said later in the day, covering his face with his hands and almost crying, as a Fox News producer followed him and asked him, again and again, if he was sure he hadn’t been living with a killer.

The Saudi Marathon Man

White House ‘Insider Threat’ program reportedly equates whistleblowing with spying
June 25, 2013

The Obama administration has taken a hard line on secrecy and internal security, aggressively prosecuting leakers and using surveillance programs to uncover journalists’ anonymous sources. And according to the McClatchy news agency, a program aimed at preventing leaks could be discouraging whistleblowing by equating it with treason. McClatchy has apparently reviewed documents for the administration-wide Insider Threat Program, which was created in 2011 after Bradley Manning released classified cables to WikiLeaks.

The program is meant to make it easier for agencies to prevent employees from leaking information, asking them to evaluate workers’ trustworthiness and set severe penalties for intentionally breaking security protocol or failing to report a breach. But it also supposedly leaves the actual definition of a threat broad, meaning that almost anything could fall under the program’s jurisdiction. While the administration has attempted to make it easier for would-be whistleblowers to report problems through internal channels, McClatchy says a Defense Department document describes any kind of security breach as a kind of espionage. “Hammer this fact home,” it apparently says, “leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States.”

The program also directs agencies to monitor their employees, which is standard practice in any high-security area. Frequently, that means watching for high-risk indicators like financial or marital problems, which can provide leverage for blackmailers or foreign intelligence agencies. But some non-intelligence agencies apparently encourage employees to watch each other for potential risk factors, which could fuel mistrust — especially since these factors can be something as innocuous as working at unusual hours.

At worst, it can mean telling employees to be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t seem happy enough. "It’s about people’s profiles, their approach to work, how they interact with management. Are they cheery? Are they looking at or The Onion during their lunch break? This is about The Stepford Wives,” complained an anonymous Pentagon official.

The Obama administration has been public about the need for tracking insider threats, and we’ve known for years that there’s a fine line between looking for spies and cracking down on “disgruntled” but trustworthy employees. President Obama and other officials have also been open about the fact that they consider even principled leaking treasonous. These revelations about the Insider Threat Program underscore this, while making it clear that we’ll likely see even bigger crackdowns in the wake of Edward Snowden’s attempt to evade prosecution for espionage.


"It’s about people’s profiles, their approach to work, how they interact with management. Are they cheery? Are they looking at or The Onion during their lunch break? This is about The Stepford Wives," complained an anonymous Pentagon official.

Watch Amy Goodman’s interview with Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence reporter for McClatchy Newspapers on Insider Threat here.

Toronto police sued for profiling over ‘hairy legs’
August 2, 2012

Seven people are suing the Toronto Police Department for $1.4 million for wrongful arrest during the June 2010 G20 summit. Women involved in the suit claim that they were profiled for “having hairy legs.”

The five women and two men claim the police used “unreasonable criteria” and treated them with “profane, sexist and homophobic” comments during their detention, following the mass arrests that took place outside the summit.

The group’s attorney, Davin Charney, told reporters that the female plaintiffs believed they were profiled by the police for having hairy legs.

According to the defense team, a note written by an officer at the time of the arrests was found by the Ontario Independent Police Review Director, which read, "All parties appear to be protesters; backpacks; clothing and females all have hairy legs."

When one of them asked for the reason for their arrest, the Toronto police officer said they "would make one up," said Charney.

One officer allegedly made derogatory comments, and told the female plaintiffs to ”shave your legs, you dykes.” Alicia Ridge, 27, claims she was sexually harassed at the time of the initial search.

"My arresting officer, who was male, decided to do an initial search of my body, which was just basically running his hand up the side of my leg and grabbing my ass, along with sexualized comments and comments that were put out there to create fear," 
news agency The Canadian Press reported.

The plaintiffs allege that police officers created a “climate … of hostility” during the protest, in reaction to vandalism by some protesters. The police then searched and arrested those who appeared to be protesting, mainly for wearing black clothes, bandanas, goggles and gas masks, the Toronto Star said.

The incident in question involved seven friends from Hamilton, Ontario, who were searched and detained by 10-15 officers outside a pizza restaurant on June 27, 2010. All were handcuffed and taken into custody. Six of the seven plaintiffs claim that they were strip-searched during detention, and held in appalling conditions.

The Toronto Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Rampant police abuses during G20 arrests?

More than 1,100 people were arrested in Toronto during the G20 protests. Several suits have already been filed, with some settled out of court. In May, Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeilly released the G20 Systemic Review Report, examining police actions that weekend.

Police arrested and prosecuted more than 40 people for vandalism during the protests, including the use of ‘Black Bloc’ tactics like smashing windows and attacking police cars.

The report concluded that ”many police officers ignored basic rights citizens have under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched them arbitrarily and without reasonable grounds in law,” McNeilly wrote. “Numerous police officers used excessive force when arresting individuals.”

Dozens of officers are facing various disciplinary charges, including allegations of excessive use of force and illegal detention.



Don Lemon is great.