As Oyeneyin filmed with his cellphone, protesting repeatedly, the police officer screamed at him to drop the gun, and then handcuffed him and pinned him to a wall.
“I’m just trying to figure out who you are, all right, and whether you are supposed to be here or not,” the Raleigh police officer said, as more officers entered the man’s home.
“That’s not the problem, bro,” the handcuffed Oyeneyin replied.
Surveillance video of the exchange, which was posted to Facebook on Thursday, comes as police face questions nationwide about using potentially dangerous force against African Americans inside their own homes. Oyeneyin, who was later released and not charged with a crime, said “being black” may have been a catalyst for what he describes as “one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” according to WTVD.
“I was counting the seconds, because I thought he was going to kill me,” Oyeneyin told ABC News. “He was shaking the gun. All he has to do is slip and hit that trigger and I’m dead.”
(The video below contains NSFW language and content.)
Messages left for the Raleigh Police Department were not returned late Sunday, but a spokeswoman said in a statement to WTVD that authorities are investigating the incident.
“The Raleigh Police Department is looking into this incident and reviewing our officers’ actions,” spokeswoman Donna-maria Harris told the outlet. “We have attempted to contact the homeowner several times over the past few days to discuss this incident with him.”
Oyeneyin was sleeping after a late night at work when his cellphone alerted him that his security system went off around noon on Aug. 17. A friend who had stayed overnight had unknowingly triggered the alarm on his way out, WTVD reported. Oyeneyin fell asleep again when he heard loud noises downstairs about 20 minutes later.
“So, I come down my steps, I grab my gun because I don’t know who’s in the house,” he said to ABC.
Responding to a dispatch call of a burglar alarm in progress, the police officer, who has not been identified, opened the unlocked front door and ordered Oyeneyin to put down his gun and come out of the house. Oyeneyin dropped the firearm but declined to exit the home, saying he was going to “record this s---, y’all are crazy as hell.”
Then, the police officer repeatedly asked the man who has lived in the home for the last five years to put his hands behind his back and get on his knees.
“For what?” a confused Oyeneyin asked.
“Turn around and face away from me!” replied the officer, who pointed his gun in the homeowner’s direction while repeatedly barking the same request from the foyer of the home.
According to the surveillance footage, the police officer did not ask for Oyeneyin’s name or his identification until at least two minutes into their exchange — after he’d already handcuffed the homeowner. In the video, the officer told Oyeneyin that he “made several announcements” and that no one answered. The homeowner replied he was sleeping and could not hear him. When he referenced Oyeneyin holding a firearm, the man said he needed it as a club promoter because “people try to rob me every day,” later confirming he has a concealed-carry permit.
The officer said he was trying to figure out whether Oyeneyin was supposed to be in the home. Baffled, the homeowner pointed out that he was in his underwear and that he had ID elsewhere to prove he lived there. “I’ve got on drawers, bro,” he said. “What the f--- you mean I’m not supposed to be here?”
As more police arrived at the scene, the officer recounted his version of his events to a supervisor, who also hasn’t been named. When the officer noted that Oyeneyin initially resisted his orders to turn around and put his hands behind his back, the homeowner reiterated he was inside his own home.
“Bro, y’all are killing people these days,” he said, according to the surveillance footage. “I’m at home and I ain’t bothering no one.”
The supervisor then ordered Oyeneyin to take a seat before he was eventually led outside. Minutes later, other officers on the scene confirmed he was indeed the homeowner and there was no break-in. The supervisor said the alarm had been going off for “15 or so minutes” and the door was open, which, to them, was “very unusual.”
Oyeneyin told ABC that police has “got me scared, I ain’t going to lie to you,” and he has a difficult time trusting authorities in a scene he repeatedly described in the video as “crazy.”
“Being black could definitely be one of the issues, the problem,” he said to WTVD. “I hope it’s not. But if that’s what it is, it needs to be resolved.”
The case in North Carolina comes amid scrutiny nationwide over police aggressively questioning black men inside their homes. In 2018, Karle Robinson, a 61-year-old Marine veteran, was allegedly held at gunpoint and handcuffed while moving into his home in Tonganoxie, Kan. (State regulators closed his racial bias complaint without action.)
A 40-year-old white officer in Boulder, Colo., drew his gun on 26-year-old Zayd Atkinson in March as he was picking up trash outside his home. After initially being placed on leave, the officer, John Smyly, resigned months later.
A white police deputy in Harris County, Tex., tried to arrest Houston resident Clarence Evans, 39, in his front yard in May, mistaking him for a different man. Video of the incident soon went viral, and Evans has sued Garrett Lindley, the officer.
While Oyeneyin said he was grateful his 6-month-old son was not home at the time of the police encounter, he said he hasn’t felt comfortable in his home since the incident.
“I felt like my character was defamed,” he said told ABC. “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.”
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