North Carolina police drew guns and handcuffed an innocent African American man — wearing nothing but underwear, inside his own home — after officers said they couldn’t immediately confirm he lived there, officials said Tuesday.
The Raleigh Police Department and resident Kazeem Oyeneyin, 31, tell similar stories of what unfolded on Aug. 17, but differ on why it needed to happen.
Police said the brief, scary confrontation was unavoidable, while Oyeneyin said he was treated differently because of the color of his skin.
A friend of Oyeneyin’s had just left the home and accidentally tripped an alarm that Oyeneyin said he simply disarmed. But officers still showed up to Oyeneyin’s home because the alarm company didn’t alert police to the false alarm, according to a Raleigh PD statement.
The officers “responded to what they believed was potentially a breaking and entering in progress,” police said.
Video taken from inside Oyeneyin’s home and distributed on social media show what happened next.
When police started screaming at the front door, Oyeneyin grabbed his gun, but put it down under orders from the officers.
“While the subject indicated he lived at the residence, the officer had no way to safely confirm the validity of the statement,” according to the police statement. “Based on all the available faces known to the officer at the time, the resident was detained until additional officers arrived and his identity could be confirmed.”
Police confirmed he was “detained” for 7 minutes.
The department said it’s still reviewing how its officers handled the situation.
Kerwin Pittman, 32, a community activist and friend of Oyeneyin’s who posted video of the incident on Facebook with his permission, told NBC News in a phone interview late Tuesday that Oyeneyin is somewhat overwhelmed by the encounter.
“He honestly feels like if he was white he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” Pittman said, adding that under the 2nd Amendment, Oyeneyin has a right to own a gun to protect his home.
Pittman said that he wants to see the two officers involved placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Clearly, we can see that something was done wrong,” Pittman said.
Phil Helsel contributed.