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Michigan home showing ends with Black realtor and prospective homebuyer in handcuffs

Police claim race didn't play factor
Realtor handcuffed.PNG
Posted at 5:39 AM, Aug 10, 2021

WYOMING, Mich. — A realtor and two prospective homebuyers — all three of them Black men — were put in handcuffs earlier this month after police received a call about a potential break-in at the house they were touring in western Michigan.

In a statement released over the weekend, the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said that officers acted appropriately and denied that race played a part in the Aug. 1 incident that saw realtor Eric Brown, client Roy Thorne and Thorne's 15-year-old son handcuffed.

On Aug. 1, Brown was showing a home to Thorne and his son when police say they received a call to the Kent County Dispatch Center.

A week earlier, Wyoming Police said they arrested a man for breaking into that same home. During that arrest, a black Mercedes was towed out of the suspect's driveway and impounded.

In the Aug. 1 call to the dispatch center, the caller — aware that an arrest had been made at that home a week ago — claimed to have seen the black Mercedes return to the driveway from where it was towed. He then told the police he saw the three men enter the house.

Police arrived at the house to find a black Hyundai Genesis sedan along with a black Chevrolet Malibu.

Police ordered Brown, Thorne and Thorne's son out of the house. Video shows all three men come out of the front door with their hands in the air as police place them in handcuffs.

Brown was able to show police his realtor license, and police watched as he entered his passcode to get the front door key for the house he was showing out of a key box.

Upon Brown's confirmation that he was a realtor, police immediately removed the handcuffs off each of the men and apologized.

On Tuesday, Aug. 3, police department leaders reviewed body camera and in-car footage. They determined officers did not violate any policies and said they acted appropriately based on the information they received.

In a statement, Wyoming Department of Public Safety Cpt. Timothy Pols said he believed the officer's response to the incident was appropriate.

"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," Pols said.

Watch video from the incident provided by the Wyoming Police Department below.

This story was originally published by Kellen Voss on Scripps station WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan.