Black Man Handcuffed While Touring Home With Realtor Says Cop Apologized But 'Damage is Done'

A Black man who was handcuffed by police while he and his 15-year-old son were touring a home with a real estate agent after a neighbor wrongly reported a break-in said the officer had apologized for the mistake, "but at the same time, the damage is done."

Roy Thorne, who had been touring the home in west Michigan, called the experience "traumatizing" for him and his son.

"My son was a little disturbed, he hasn't seen anything like that...he's not going to forget this," Thorne said.

Body camera footage from the officers who responded to the call showed Thorne explaining he had been visiting the house with his agent, and said he was "definitely not buying this place."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Man handcuffed while touring home with realtor
Roy Thorne, who was handcuffed by police while touring a home with his realtor said the officer apologized, "but at the same time, the damage is done." In the body camera footage released by the police department, Thorne is heard saying he is "definitely not buying this place." Getty Images

The agent, Eric Brown, told WOOD-TV the police response August 1 in Wyoming, including two out of five officers who drew their guns, felt aggressive and "threw me back."

"I feel pretty anxious, or nervous or maybe even a little bit scared about what do I do to protect myself if I'm going to show a home and the authorities just get called on a whim like that," Brown said. "Am I just automatically the criminal? Because that's pretty much how we were treated in that situation."

The Wyoming Police Department defended the officers' actions and said they followed protocol for responding to a reported home invasion. The department said in a statement that Chief Kimberly Koster reached out to the three offering to meet with them and any other family members.

The department released body camera footage that shows officers handcuffing them. One of the officers had his weapon out and pointed it at Thorne as he left the home in response to police commands.

The footage also shows police put Thorne in the backseat of a squad car with the door open after handcuffing him.

Brown used his cellphone to show police he scheduled an appointment online to take Thorne to the house and had an access code to get inside. Thorne's son was put in the backseat of another squad car briefly before the officer accompanying him was told to uncuff the teenager.

Another Black man with a similar car to the real estate agent's vehicle was arrested after he went into the house without permission July 24, police said. That person also told police he was interested in purchasing the house but was not with a real estate agent and didn't have the homeowner's permission to go inside.

A neighbor saw Brown's car parked in front of the house on August 1 and called police, wrongly reporting the intruder had returned, the statement said. Brown's car is the same color as that first person's but a different make and model.

"Somebody dropped the ball somewhere," one of the officers can be heard saying to another after Brown and Thorne explained why they were at the house.