Wyoming, Michigan (AP) –Police in western Michigan handcuffed a real estate agent, his client, and the man’s 15-year-old son after a neighbor mistakenly reported that three blacks had broken into a house.
Agent Eric Brown said WOOD-TV that the police response on August 1 in Wyoming, including two out of five officers who pulled out their pistols, sensed aggression and “threw me back.”
“I feel pretty anxious, or nervous, or maybe even a little scared about what I have to do to protect myself if I’m going to show the house and the authorities will just call on such a whim,” Brown said. “Am I just automatically a criminal? Because in that situation they treated us about the same. “
The Wyoming Police Department defended the officers’ actions and said they followed protocol when responding to a home burglary report. The department said in a statement that chief Kimberly Koster approached the three with an offer to meet with them and other family members.
Roy Thorne, Brown’s client, described the experience in the Grand Rapids suburb as “traumatic” for him and his son.
Branch released footage from the TV camera this shows how the officers handcuff them. One officer drew his weapon and pointed it at Thorn as he was leaving the house on orders from the police.
Thorne said the officer apologized, “but at the same time the damage was done.”
“My son was a little worried, he hadn’t seen anything like it … he will not forget it,” he said.
The footage also shows police put Thorne in the back seat of a police car with the door open, handcuffing him.
“Definitely not buying this place,” Thorne says in the video, explaining that he was visiting the house with his real estate agent.
Brown used his cell phone to show police that he made an online appointment to take Thorne to the house, and that he had an access code to get inside. Thorne’s son was briefly put in the back seat of another patrol car before the officer accompanying him was ordered to remove the handcuffs from the teenager.
Police said another black man with a car that looked like a real estate agent was arrested after entering a home without permission on July 24. The man also told police that he was interested in buying a home, but was not with the real estate agent and did not have the landlord’s permission to go inside.
The statement said that a neighbor saw Brown’s car parked in front of the house and called the police, mistakenly reporting that the attacker had returned. Brown’s car is the same color as this first person, but a different make and model.
“Someone dropped a ball somewhere,” one of the officers can be heard talking to the other after Brown and Thorne explained why they were in the house.