Police handcuffed a black real estate agent and the black clients he was showing around a house for sale in Wyoming, Mich., after a neighbor called authorities to report “suspicious” activity on the property.
Local police then insisted that no racial profiling was involved in the incident, which took place on a quiet street around 2:15 p.m. on August 1. Instead, they said it was an innocent case of a neighbor mistaking one black car for another. , after a break-in at the home a week earlier.
Real estate agent Eric D. Brown later said local media that it was “traumatic” to see five police cars show up in front of the house while he was just doing his job.
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Brown was showing a customer and his teenage son, 15, around the house when he heard police screaming from outside. Five patrol cars had surrounded the house and one officer had his gun drawn while another shouted out instructions.
“Come out with your hands in the air!” Cried the officers. “One at a time!”
Brown and his clients obeyed and all three were handcuffed on the spot.
“At the moment you are not under arrest,” an officer said in a body camera video released by police. “Neighbors are calling for you to break into the place. “
“I’m a real estate agent,” Brown replies, moments after being handcuffed. He then directs agents to the real estate agent’s license in his wallet, before demonstrating that he used a real estate agent’s electronic keybox to enter the house in the first place.
The police eventually untied the three people and apologized.
“Sorry for the inconvenience,” one of them says in the video.
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Authorities released the bodycam video and a long declaration about this week’s incident, after being accused of racial profiling of the black real estate agent and his clients.
Police said a suspect broke into the house on the evening of July 24 and seized a black Mercedes sedan during his arrest.
A week later, Brown and his customers came to the show in a black Chevrolet Malibu and a black Hyundai Genesis, which police say “looks like a Mercedes.”
Police said a neighbor remembered the previous incident and reported the cars to authorities.
Officials also admitted that an officer drew his gun during the encounter, but said it was standard procedure to provide cover.
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Brown says he’s still recovering from the incident.
“It is something we will never forget and it is an unfortunate memory,” he told the local broadcaster. WOOD-TV.
He added that he had spoken to Police Chief Kim Koster, who told him that officers were unaware they still had the black Mercedes of the heist suspect in the impound.
“That’s my point, they should (know),” Brown said. “You’re not presenting yourself in a tactical way to do this type of business, which the three of us – the three of us, me, Roy and Sammy – intended to do, which is to threaten to submit to ourselves.” There was no “let’s understand this situation, let’s take it a step further to make sure we don’t impact someone’s life or accidentally kill and shoot someone.” This to me is troubling.
He added that he would have liked to have had the chance to explain himself before being handcuffed at work.
Brown’s potential client Roy Thorne told WOOD-TV that he had changed his mind about buying this or any other home since the incident.
Charlie Oppler, president of the National Association of Realtors, was not convinced that race was not a factor.
“Although thankfully neither Brown nor his clients were physically injured in the incident, racial profiling – and the humiliation, indignity and trauma that accompanies it – has no place in our country, “he said in a statement.
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