A Black realtor in Michigan and his client are prepping for a legal battle with the city of Wyoming, Michigan, after the two were handcuffed and detained during a routine house tour. Complex reports realtor Eric Brown filed a suit with the city earlier this month following a run-in with police on Aug. 1.
Just before police swarmed the home with their guns drawn, Brown was completing a house tour with his client, Roy Thorne, and his 15-year-old son Samuel, who are both listed as co-plaintiffs in the suit.
A realtor, a client, and the client's son were handcuffed by police in Michigan for taking a scheduled tour of a home while Black. They just filed a lawsuit against the city and I hope they win. pic.twitter.com/Swo4FHQMBJ— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) October 9, 2021
According to USA Today, officers said they were called to the home by a neighbor who said they saw a Black intruder entering the home. The neighbor assumed the person who had been previously arrested for breaking and entering the house was back a second time. The suspect was described as driving a black Mercedes, but Brown's and Thorne's cars, a black Hyundai Genesis sedan and a black Chevrolet Malibu, were the only vehicles at the home.
"I thought, 'We’re going to get shot. This is going to go really bad, really fast,'" Brown previously told the outlet of the incident.
Thorne, an army veteran, told the outlet he felt the same. Thorne was fearful for himself and his son's safety during the situation.
"I prepared myself to get shot or killed," Thorne said. "I can’t get it out of my head. I keep replaying that walk down the stairs."
Officers told them to come out of the house with their hands up. The three men were placed in handcuffs and put in separate police cars. The lawsuit states they were released after Brown was able to prove that he was a real estate agent. Brown's suit also states that if the three men weren't Black, they wouldn't have been walked out of the home at gunpoint by police and detained.
Police called the situation a "big misunderstanding" and said the incident wasn't racially motivated after reviewing body camera footage.
"We have concluded race played no role in our officers’ treatment of the individuals who were briefly detained," the police statement read. "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."