RALEIGH, N.C. — When Kazeem Oyeneyin’s friend accidentally set off his burglar alarm, the North Carolina man went downstairs, turned it off, and went back upstairs to sleep.
Minutes later, Raleigh police showed up, handcuffed Oyeneyin and took him outside in his underwear while they started clearing his house.
“What have I done wrong?” the black homeowner asks, as seen in his home security camera footage from August 17. “I haven’t done nothing wrong.”
On Monday, Raleigh police explained the officers’ actions, saying there were several clues that led police to believe a real burglary might have happened.
“It’s a stereotype that I just don’t want to deal with,” Oyeneyin said.
What the home security footage shows
In one clip, Oyeneyin’s burglar alarm blares through his townhouse.
Oyeneyin walks downstairs, punches in a code to stop the alarm, and goes back upstairs.
In an interview with CNN, Oyeneyin said the alarm went off because a friend had stayed at his house the night before. When the friend left the house, he accidentally set off the alarm.
Oyeneyin said he’s had about four false alarms before. But in the past, police usually came to his house and asked for identification. The officer typically took note of the incident and left, Oyeneyin said.
Not this time.
The security footage shows the first arriving officer opening Oyeneyin’s unlocked front door. “Police! (If) you’re inside, let yourself be known,” the officer shouts into the home.
Oyeneyin responds from upstairs, though his words aren’t clear in the video.
The officer tells him to come down with his hands up. He quickly sees Oyeneyin has a gun in his hand.
Oyeneyin told CNN he wasn’t sure who was downstairs at his front door, so he took his legally owned handgun with him as a precaution. In the video, he announces that he has a firearm.
The officer tells Oyeneyin to drop the weapon, and Oyeneyin immediately does.
“Come on out here,” the officer says, stepping farther outside the house.
“I got on my drawers,” Oyeneyin responded, refusing to leave his foyer.
“Turn around. Put your hands behind your back,” the officer said.
“For what?” Oyeneyin replies, exasperated.
The homeowner and officer have a tense exchange, with the officer demanding Oyeneyin get down on his knees and turn around with his hands behind his back.
Oyeneyin does get down on his knees, but he refuses to turn his back toward the officer. He later told CNN he feared for his safety.
“It’s turning around that I’m afraid of. I’m afraid you’re going to shoot me,” Oyeneyin told CNN.
“I’m tired of having cops pointing guns at me. I’ve been through this rodeo before,” he told CNN. You want me to turn around and face the other (side) where I cant see you? It was more of a safety thing for me, not a compliance.”
The officer eventually enters Oyeneyin’s home and handcuffs him. As they wait for a police supervisor to arrive, the officer asks Oyeneyin if he lives at the home and if he has identification.
“Yep,” Oyeneyin replied both times.
But the officer doesn’t ask Oyeneyin to show him his ID. Instead, the officer explains his actions, saying the door was unlocked, he made several announcements before Oyeneyin responded, and that Oyeneyin emerged from upstairs with a gun.
“I’m just trying to figure out whether you’re supposed to be here or not, OK?” the officer said.
“I got on drawers, bro … (what do) you mean, am I supposed to be here?” Oyeneyin replied.
“I’m just trying to figure out who you are, and whether you’re supposed to be here or not,” the officer said. But he does not ask to see Oyeneyin’s ID.
Moments later, the officer’s supervisor shows up. The sergeant tells Oyeneyin to “have a seat, because we’re going to clear the rest of the house.”
More officers show up. As Oyeneyin keeps asking questions, one officer says, “put him in the car.”
“I haven’t done nothing wrong,” Oyeneyin says, as he’s taken away handcuffed.
Later in the video, one of the officers brings Oyeneyin back inside, telling other police that Oyeneyin is the homeowner and that no burglary took place. The officers leave.
What the police department says
Raleigh police sent a statement to CNN on Monday explaining the first officer’s actions.
After receiving a report of an active burglar alarm, the officer “arrived within minutes and found the front door ajar.”
“After several attempts to contact anyone within the residence, an unidentified male who was armed with a handgun came into the officer’s view,” Raleigh police spokeswoman Donna-maria Harris said in the statement.
“While the resident stated he turned off his alarm prior to RPD’s arrival, the alarm company never called dispatch to cancel police response.”
The police statement said even though the resident said he lived at the house, “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.”
“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,” police said.
The resident was detained for about seven minutes, police said. The department said it is reviewing the incident.
‘This has been going on too long’
Oyeneyin said the incident is just the latest indignity he’s faced as a successful black homeowner.
“I’ve been kicked out of a home I used to live (in) because police have accused me of being a gang member,” he said.
“I’ve been sweeping this under a rug, thinking this is America.”
But now that he has a son, Oyeneyin said it’s time to speak out.
“I want to raise awareness to what’s going on,” he said. “This has been going on too long, and I just need it to stop.”