Michigan Police Handcuff Black Realtor And Black Clients During House Tour After White Resident Calls 911
A realtor, his client and his client's son, all Black, were handcuffed and detained by police in the midst of touring a property.
Roy Thorne, an Army veteran, was house hunting in Wyoming, Michigan with his 15-year-old son Samuel. Realtor Eric Brown was showing them a two-story brick house.
But in the midst of their tour, Samuel Thorne began to notice the house become gradually surrounded by police, many of them armed. His father, Roy Thorne also noticed the property was surrounded.
Evidenced by police body-cam footage, released by the Wyoming Police Department, all three occupants were ordered to come out with their hands up.
The two Black men and the 15-year-old child were handcuffed and placed in three different police vehicles.
A Black realtor was showing a house to a Black man and his 15-year-old son in a Michigan suburb last week when they… https://t.co/mfEoPXzCoE— CNN (@CNN) 1628383905.0
All three cooperated with police.
While still handcuffed, Brown informed the officers he was a realtor on a scheduled tour, used an app to open the lockbox allowing them inside the house and showed them his credentials.
A Black realtor was showing a house to a Black man and his teen son in a Michigan suburb when police officers surro… https://t.co/6uGgdBMcdx— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1628435884.0
Upon receiving this information, the police released all three, informing them a neighbor called 911 to report the Black realtor and his clients for breaking and entering. She accused Brown of being a man who was previously arrested for breaking into the house on July 24.
About a half-dozen police officers pointed their guns at a Black real estate agent and his client during a house to… https://t.co/6BCdp08kWX— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post) 1628333822.0
A Black Army vet was viewing a house in Michigan with his Black real estate agent and 15-year-old son, when a neigh… https://t.co/b6JfxBD7L3— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1628262527.0
Several of the officers in the video are shown apologizing to Brown, Thorne and his son Samuel.
Note that (1) cops' actions meet legal definition of armed kidnapping and (2) the police are telling you something… https://t.co/U1h81yBdqv— Alec Karakatsanis (@Alec Karakatsanis) 1628459853.0
A report by local news affiliate Wood8 TV revealed Brown and Thorne are not letting the racial bias go unanswered.
Speaking to Wood8 TV Brown expressed his concern none of the officers thought to check the man who had previously broken into the house was still in police custody, or the car the same individual was driving, a black Mercedes, was still in the police impound lot.
Brown also questioned why all three of them—including a 15-year-old child separated from his father—needed to be handcuffed before having the chance to explain themselves.
My wife and I are aspiring homeowners. This story was overwhelming to read. https://t.co/FA2b2ssQwP— Wm Stubbs (@Wm Stubbs) 1628375755.0
According to a statement from the Wyoming Police Department, was part of their protocols.
"While it is unfortunate that innocent individuals were placed in handcuffs, our officers responded reasonably and according to department policy based on the information available to them at the time."
And while Captain Timothy Pols of the Wyoming Police insisted to Wood8 TV "there wasn't a racial element" to the incident, Thorne and Brown strongly disagree.
Speaking to the The Washington Post, Thorne addressed the fact there were as many as 40 showings of the house prior to his, all without any police involvement.
He went on to say:
"I don't get how we were treated as a threat when we're clearly not one."
"If we were White, that wouldn't happen."
Brown and Thorne are not alone in believing this was a blatant example of racial bias and racial profiling.
Roy Thorne, left, w/ his 15 y/o son & realtor Eric Brown. All 3 were held at gun point till later handcuffed & arr… https://t.co/pndBCvw4PD— StanceGrounded (@StanceGrounded) 1628413056.0
@Roshan_Rinaldi From the article “According to Wyoming Police Captain Timothy Pols, race played no role in the inci… https://t.co/S5yQjDIWq2— Bawdy Broad (@Bawdy Broad) 1628021612.0
@Wyoming_MI where being black while both showing and looking at a home for sale gets you arrested without apology… https://t.co/d0YMa0xQmb— Nicholas Boerio (@Nicholas Boerio) 1628408742.0
Viewers of the footage on YouTube were equally angered.
According to CNN, Wyoming Police Chief Kimberly Koster invited Brown, Thorne and his son Samuel to speak about the incident, which they are considering, with legal counsel present.
Thorne also told CNN he has a message for the woman who called 9-11.
"...if you see a crime, report a crime. But if you see people—Black people, any minority—don't report people doing normal things."
"You do that, you don't realize that you can change their life or have their life taken, just you making a phone call. In this instance, it could have been three."