Black real estate agent, clients in handcuffs outside the Michigan home they were browsing

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When real estate agent Black looked out the window of the house he was showing and saw a police officer circling around him with a pistol at the ready, he feared that a fugitive was hiding in the yard.

“It’s kind of like a nice house, but the outside is a criminal,” said Eric Brown, he thought to himself when he saw the officer.

At the time, he was organizing a tour of a house in Wyoming, Michigan for Roy Thorne and his 15-year-old son Sammy.

“He’s not going to buy this house now,” Brown worried.

However, he said he became less worried about the sale and more worried about safety when he noticed the second officer “behind the tree making gestures.”

Before the end of the day, the police ordered the three to leave the house and handcuffed them.

Typical show

Brown, 46, of Grand Rapids Real Estate arrived at the two-story home with two garages and brick pavement at 2 p.m. on Sunday and did what he always does. He checked the doorbell, used an app on his phone to open the safe that held the key, and went inside before his client arrived to open the toilets and bedroom doors.

Real estate agent Eric Brown (left) said he was driving his client Roy Thorne and his son through a house in Wyoming, Michigan when he noticed a growing police presence on the street.WOOD TV

Thorne, 45, whom Brown had known since his teens, and Sammy arrived 10 minutes later.

The three of them waved to the neighbors who were doing Sunday business — the guy who mowed the lawn and the family next door who was hosting an outdoor meeting.

When the officers arrived, they didn’t notice.

‘Get out of the line of fire’

Brown knew the doors of the house were open. He was afraid that the suspect was at large and might try to enter the house to hide.

“If there is somewhere to run, it will be in this house,” he recalled his thoughts.

“They are going to let the criminal into this house. We’re going to be hostages here, and Sammy is in the basement. “

Sammy suddenly rushed upstairs to report that there were more police officers in front of the house.

According to Brown, Thorne, who is also Black and a veteran of the army, told his son to “get out of the line of fire” and opened a window to address the officers.

“They were so focused on organizing themselves that they didn’t hear him screaming,” Brown told NBC News on Friday. “When the officer heard him, he pointed the gun at the house.”

“It was then that I realized that they were next to us,” he added.

‘It does something to you’

Brown said he and his clients were ordered to go down and out of the front of the house one at a time, with their hands up.

“We realized, well, that this has been going on for a while,” he said.

Three or four police cars were parked with wheels on the sidewalk. And the officers, using the open doors of the SUV as shields and with weapons at the ready, waited for the trio to leave the house.

When Brown, Thorne, and Sammy were leaving the house, they were ordered to turn around and walk in the opposite direction to the officers.

“When a few guns are pointed at you and they tell you to turn around, it does something to you,” Brown said.

‘I’m just showing home’

All three were handcuffed. Brown asked what was the matter and received no answer. Before being put on the cruiser, he urged the officer to go into his pocket, pull out his wallet and find a business card that proves that he is a real estate agent. “I’m just showing the house,” he said.

The officer paused and asked how Brown got into the house. Still handcuffed, Brown said he was taken back to the front door to demonstrate how he got the key from the safe.

The Wyoming Police Department removed the handcuffs from the three and apologized, Brown said. They told him that a squatter had recently been in the house. The squatter’s black Mercedes resembled Brown’s black Genesis.

But he could not shake the feeling that in a predominantly white area, he, his friend, and his friend’s son were racially profiled.

“It is not right. This is bad, ”Brown said. “My heart is racing. Sammy looks 10 shades lighter. He is clearly scared and traumatized by the situation. ” Meanwhile, the officers “just took it off.”

He counted up to seven officers, all white. He said they did not exercise “due diligence” when they arrived at the house. They didn’t announce themselves or try to ring the doorbell.

“They didn’t come there to talk. The way they moved around the house, Roy, with his military training, realized this posturing. It flipped from showing the house to getting out of here alive, ”Brown said. “I believed we were in danger, very serious danger.”

Separation protocol

The Wyoming Police Department did not respond to numerous requests from NBC News for comment.

In a statement for NBC WOOD Partner from Grand Rapids, Captain Timothy Pauls said the officers answered “an emergency call from a neighbor reporting a house burglary.”

“The officers knew that a previous burglary took place at the same address on July 24, and that the suspect was arrested and charged with illegal entry during this incident. The caller reported that the previously arrested suspect returned and re-entered the house, ”the statement said.

Brown, Thorne and Sammy were handcuffed “per department protocol,” Pauls said. He did not address the officers who surrounded the house with weapons at the ready or did not declare themselves.

While Brown and Thorne are now talking to a lawyer, he said they are focused on getting emotional support from Sammy, Thorne and himself “so they heal as quickly as possible.”

“I went from being afraid for my life to being shaken to the point that it wasn’t quite right, and now I’m a little angry,” Brown said.

“I definitely felt guilty about breaking into this house,” he said. “And I had the keys to it.”

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