‘Most humiliating experience of my life:’ Black North Carolina man after false burglar alarm
An African American homeowner says he endured the “most humiliating experience of my life” when white police officers answered a false burglar alarm at his North Carolina home and ended up placing him in handcuffs at gunpoint and walking him to a police car in just his underwear as his neighbors watched.
“I was counting the seconds because I thought he was going to kill me,” Kazeem Oyeneyin, 31, told ABC News on Saturday of the confrontation with police at his home in Raleigh. “He was shaking the gun. All he has to do is slip and hit that trigger and I’m dead.”
Raleigh police official said the incident is under investigation.
“The Department is looking into this incident and reviewing our officers’ actions,” Raleigh police said in a statement to Durham ABC station WTVD. “We have attempted to contact the homeowner several times over the past few days to discuss this incident with him.”
Oyeneyin said the episode occurred on Aug. 17, when a friend who was staying at his home left and triggered his home security system.
He said he was asleep and didn’t hear the alarm as soon as it went off, but his cellphone, which is linked to his security system, sounded and woke him up.
“I go downstairs. I disengage the alarm. I go back upstairs, I laid down. Twenty minutes later, I just hear these loud noises,” Oyeneyin told ABC News. “So, I come down my steps, I grab my gun because I don’t know who’s in the house.”
Oyeneyin said the incident happened at 12:21 p.m. and that he was sleeping because he works nights as a party and hip-hop concert promoter under the nickname “Tim Boss.”
Security video in his home, which he shared with ABC News, shows an officer holding a gun in his hand and pushing open the unlocked front door and yelling, “Police. If you’re inside, make yourself known. Come on out with your hands up.”
Oyeneyin is heard in the video responding that he had a gun, prompting the officer to order him to drop the weapon and step outside the front door. But the homeowner paused in his foyer and began videoing with his cellphone while asking the officer, “What for?”
“Just turn around and put your hands behind your back and get down on your knees,” the officer tells Oyeneyin, according to the security video.
When Oyeneyin again asked why and tried to explain he was in his own home, the officer still pointing a gun at him repeated that Oyeneyin get on his knees and to “turn around and face away from me,” according to the video.
Oyeneyin eventually complied with the orders and the officer handcuffed him, the video shows. The homeowner asked to see the officer’s supervisor as a police car siren is heard in the background.
When a sergeant and two other officers entered the home, Oyeneyin stood up and attempted to explain that he owned the home.
The sergeant ordered Oyeneyin to sit back down. When Oyeneyin tried to tell him he had done nothing wrong, the sergeant told two officers to take him to a police car and said, “We’re going to clear the house,” according to the video.
Oyeneyin claims the officer walked him handcuffed and in just his boxer shorts to a police car about five houses away.
“While the cop was trying to put me in the car, I’m screaming, like ‘Yo!’ because I want my neighbors to come out and tell them that I live there,” Oyeneyin said. “So, the neighbors are just looking through the windows and I’m just humiliated. Nobody wants to say nothing. Everybody’s just looking.”
He said as he was sitting in the back of a police car police searched his house.
While he waited, a second sergeant who he knew arrived at the scene and recognized him. That sergeant had Oyeneyin’s handcuffs removed and walked him back to his house.
The sergeant is heard on the security video telling his colleagues, “Tell everybody they need to come on out. This is the homeowner.”
Oyeneyin told ABC News that he’s still rattled by the incident.
“This was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” he said, adding the claim that he doesn’t have a criminal record and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. “I mean, I felt like my character was defamed. I went outside the other day, the neighbors wouldn’t even wave at me. They don’t know what’s going on. They think I’m a whole criminal over here.”
Oyeneyin said he’s just thankful that his 6-month-old son wasn’t at the house at the time of the incident.
“My son was with his mother at the time, thank God,” he said.
Oyeneyin claims officers identifying themselves as being from internal affairs showed up at his house to ask him about the incident after WTVD did a story about it on Friday. He said he declined to accept their invitation to go to the police station and make a formal complaint.
“They’ve got me scared. I ain’t going to lie to you,” Oyeneyin said. “I don’t know how to trust them.”
He said he hasn’t decided yet whether to seek legal advice or what action to take, but added, “I just think people need to be aware of this. This ain’t right.”