Police stand alongside officers who detained black real estate agent, with clients visiting the house

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Michigan police stand alongside a group of officers who unsheathed their guns and handcuffed a real estate agent, a potential home buyer and his 15-year-old son, all black and visiting a home on Sunday.

Wyoming Department of Public Safety officials said in a statement officers acted appropriately when they surrounded the Wyoming home and demanded that the three people come out after receiving a call about a home invasion. at the location.

“After a thorough internal review of the actions of each of our public security officers who responded to this incident, we concluded that race played no role in our officers’ treatment of those who were briefly detained, and our agents responded appropriately, ”the statement said.

Real estate agent Eric Brown, left, said he was taking his client Roy Thorne and his son to a house in Wyoming, Michigan when he noticed a growing police presence outside.WOOD TV

Eric Brown, 46, of Grand Rapids Real Estate, was showing Roy Thorne and Thorne’s son Sammy a tour of the two-story house in the early afternoon when he saw a policeman tour the property with his weapon drawn, Brown told NBC News. Brown had access to a safe that held the key to the house and let himself in, as he usually does when working as a real estate agent, he said.

What Brown did not know was that a man had been arrested on suspicion of having entered the house illegally about a week earlier. A neighbor saw Brown entering the house and called the police, telling the dispatcher the man was “back over there.” His car is sitting in front ”, according to call audio. Apparently, the suspect’s black Mercedes looked like Brown’s black Genesis, police said.

At least five patrol cars were at the scene and Brown, Thorne and Thorne’s son were handcuffed.

Bodycam video shows the three people walking out of the house with their hands up, surrounded by patrol cars blocking the street. Brown said he believed he, Thorne and Sammy were being racially profiled.

After Brown convinced them he was a real estate agent by having an agent pull out his wallet to find his business card and show them how he got a key from a safe at home, agents took removed the handcuffs and apologized, he said.

Brown said he feared for their lives, adding that Sammy was “clearly terrified and traumatized by the situation.”

“I went from being scared for my life to being shocked, to ‘it’s not good’, to now a little angry,” he said. “I definitely felt guilty for breaking into this house. And I had the keys.

The country is in an age of racial calculation, accentuated by a summer of protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Brown said he and Thorne were talking to a lawyer.

But Wyoming Police said an examination found the officers had done nothing wrong. Officials said their actions were “in line with department policy and training.”

Brown later told NBC News he believed the department’s response was inappropriate. The police captain “released this statement without sufficient initial due diligence to corroborate it,” he said. “Basically, she had said something. She’s going to have to answer some really tough questions here soon.”

After examining the body camera video, two police officers found “no violation of the policy and indicated that the officers acted appropriately based on the information they had at the time.”

Police said the director of public safety Kim Koster had contacted Brown and the department was arranging a meeting.


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