On August 1, Keller Williams’ agent Eric Brown was trip upstairs in Sharon Avenue, Wyoming, Michigan with client Roy Thorne and his 15-year-old son, who are also black. The next thing they noticed was that numerous police officers had gathered outside the house in response to an emergency call from a neighbor.
“Roy looked outside and noticed there were officers pointing pistols in the direction of the property,” Brown says. reported to local news agency WOODwho first told the story. Brown and Thorne called out from the upstairs window and were told to leave the house with their hands up.
Brown, Thorne, and even Thorne’s 15-year-old son were handcuffed. In handcuffs, Brown showed his real estate details, and three were eventually released. But both Brown and Thorne described embarrassment when they were treated like criminals and racially profiled in front of a child.
“The response rate and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a comeback, it really set me back,” Brown told WOOD. He added, “Am I just automatically a criminal? Because in that situation they treated us about the same. “
The Wyoming State Police Department denied race was instrumental in their reaction and said they followed protocol following a recent burglary at the same address that led to their arrest and burglary charges on July 24. Inman was unable to contact the department for comment.
“The Wyoming Department of Public Safety takes such emergency calls seriously and officers rely on their training and department policies for their responses,” the department said in a press statement. “The response to this incident was shaped by the information available to the officers at the time.”
Over the years, black real estate agents have often drawn attention to the fact that they are treated with suspicion and sometimes even violence from neighbors and police in doing their jobs.
December 2020 Compass agent and real estate photographer in Arlington, VA, filed a racial profiling complaint after being questioned in front of a client during a photo shoot at work. In 2018, a situation similar to that of Brown and Thorn played out in Cincinnati and led to agent sues city…
While some incidents hit national news and spark debate about racism, many others fizzle out and do not result in systemic change.
“This officer came back and apologized again, but at the same time the damage was done,” Thorne said. “My son was a little worried, he hadn’t seen anything like it … he’s not going to forget it.”