Black Realtor, Client Handcuffed by Armed Cops While Trying To Sell Home

A Black real estate agent in Michigan has accused the local police department of racial profiling after he was handcuffed when officers responded to a home he was trying to sell, after reports of a break-in.

Realtor Eric Brown said he was showing Roy Thorne and his 15-year-old son, who are also Black, the house on Sharon Avenue SW in Wyoming on Sunday, August 1, when they saw that police were gathering outside the property.

"Roy looked outside and noticed there were officers there and were pointing guns toward the property," Brown told WOOD.

Thorne said he introduced himself to police through an upstairs window. The officers then ordered them to come out of the home with their hands in the air.

All three were then placed in handcuffs after they exited the house.

"They keep their guns drawn on us until all of us were in cuffs," Thorne said. "So, that was a little traumatizing I guess because under the current climate of things, you just don't know what's going to happen."

Brown said soon after being handcuffed he was able to explain that he was a realtor trying to sell the home, and showed the officers his credentials.

Wyoming Police Department say officers immediately removed the handcuffs after realizing their mistake and explained that they were responding to a report of a break-in from a neighbor.

The department had previously responded to a burglary at the same address on July 24, which resulted in a suspect was arrested and charged for unlawful entry.

Police said the person who called 911 said that the suspect had returned and was inside the home again.

Brown told WOOD he believes that the officers' response would have been differently if the three of them were white.

"The level of the response and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a take back, it really threw me back," Brown said.

"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," he added. "Am I just automatically the criminal? Because that's pretty much how we were treated in that situation."

Speaking to WOOD, Wyoming Police Captain Timothy Pols denied race played a part in the officers' actions and they followed protocol by placing them in handcuffs.

"The department was responding to a call for service, there wasn't a racial element to it," Pols said.

In a statement to Newsweek, a Wyoming Police spokesperson confirmed: "On August 1, our officers responded to a 911 call from a neighbor reporting that a house was being broken into.

"Officers and the caller were aware that a previous burglary had occurred at this same address on July 24 and that a suspect was arrested and charged with unlawful entry during that incident.

"The caller indicated that the previously arrested suspect had returned in the same vehicle and had again entered the house. When the officers arrived, there were people inside of the residence in question.

"Officers asked the individuals to come out of the house and placed them in handcuffs per department protocol. After listening to the individuals' explanation for why they were in the house, officers immediately removed the handcuffs.

"The Wyoming Department of Public Safety takes emergency calls such as this seriously and officers rely on their training and department policy in their response. The response to this incident was shaped around the information available to officers at the time."

Wyoming police
(File photo) A "For Sale by Owner" sign is posted in front of property in Monterey Park, California on April 29, 2020. A Black real estate agent in Wyoming has accused the local police department of racial profiling after he was handcuffed at a home he was trying to sell. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images