Black Homeowner Handcuffed and Detained by Police Following False Alarm
|thenorthstar||Aug 26, 2019|
A Black man from North Carolina said he was humiliated by police when they arrived at his home in response to a false alarm on his home security system.
Kazeem Oyeneyin, 31, told ABC News that on August 17 at around 12:21 p.m., a friend who was staying at his home accidentally triggered his alarm system. Oyeneyin, a party and hip hop concert promoter, said he was asleep and did not hear the alarm go off, but his cellphone, which is connected to his security system, rang and woke him.
“I just laid back down, and all I heard was somebody screaming downstairs," Oyeneyin told WTVD. "So I grab my firearm because I don’t know what’s going on, and I run down the stairs, and it’s a cop.”
In security footage obtained by ABC News, an officer can be seen holding a gun in his hand pushing the front door open, yelling “Police. If you're inside, make yourself known. Come on out with your hands up." The homeowner tells the officer he has a gun and the officer tells him to drop his weapon and step outside. When Oyeneyin asks why, the officer can be heard saying, "Just turn around and put your hands behind your back and get down on your knees.”
Oyenyin asks again why the officer is making this request and tries to explain that he was in his own home. The officer continues to point his gun at the 31-year-old party promoter and repeated the commands, instructing him to get on his knees and to "turn around and face away from me," according to the video obtained by ABC News. Oyenyin complies with the officer's orders and is handcuffed.
After he is handcuffed, the video shows a sergeant and two additional officers enter the home and Oyeneyin stands up and tries to explain that he is the owner of the home.
The sergeant then asks Oyeneyin to sit down and then tells the two officers to take the homeowner to their patrol car so the sergeant could “clear the house,” according to the video. Oyeneyin told ABC News that the officers walked him to a police car about five houses away, clad only in his boxer shorts.
"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 told the news station. "So, the neighbors are just looking through the windows and I'm just humiliated. Nobody wants to say nothing. Everybody's just looking."
While sitting in the back of a police car while the officer searched his home, a second sergeant who knew Oyeneyin arrived on the scene and recognized him. He removed his handcuffs and walked him back to the house. In the video, the sergeant can be heard explaining to the officers that Oyeneyin is the homeowner.
"Tell everybody they need to come on out. This is the homeowner," the sergeant said. Oyeneyin told ABC News he doesn’t have a criminal record and should not have been treated as one. He called the incident “humiliating.”
"This was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life," he told the news station. "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."
In a statement to The North Star, the Raleigh Police Department said the alarm company never called to cancel the police dispatch despite Oyeneyin saying he turned off the alarm system. “As indicated on the resident’s video, the first responding officer observed the subject with a handgun and directed him to put the gun down and come to the front door. While the subject indicated he lived at the residence, the officer had no way to safely confirm the validity of the statement or check the residence for additional persons until other officers arrived on scene,” the statement read.
“Based on all available facts known to the officer at the time, the resident was detained until additional officers arrived and his identity could be confirmed. The resident was detained for approximately seven minutes while his identity was confirmed. The Department has reached out to the resident for an interview and we are currently reviewing the incident,” the statement continued.
Oyeneyin told ABC News that he declined the department’s invitation to go to the police station to make a formal complaint. He told the news station he has not decided if he should take legal action.
"They've got me scared. I ain't going to lie to you," Oyeneyin told the news station. "I don't know how to trust them."
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.