A Michigan realtor and his client were reportedly handcuffed during a showing on Sunday after police officers responded to the house on a report of a break-in.
Local station WOOD reports the officers let the pair go as soon as they realized the mix-up, however realtor Eric Brown and his client Roy Thorne say they were racially profiled.
Brown says he was taking Thorne and his son through a property in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming when he noticed police were gathering outside.
“Roy looked outside and noticed there were officers there and were pointing guns toward the property,” he noted to the news station before claiming armed officers ordered them to exit the home single file with their hands in the air. All three were handcuffed including Thorne’s 15-year-old son.
“They keep their guns drawn on us until all of us were in cuffs,” Thorne said. “So, that was a little traumatizing I guess because, under the current climate of things, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
After he was cuffed, Brown said he showed officers his real estate agent credentials, which led to all three of the men having their handcuffs removed.
“That officer came back and apologized again, but at the same time, the damage is done,” Thorne said. “My son was a little disturbed. He hasn’t seen anything like that … he’s not going to forget this.”
According to Wyoming police, authorities responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who reported a break-in at the home.
“Officers were aware that a previous burglary had occurred at this same address on July 24 and that a suspect was arrested and charged for unlawful entry during that incident,” Capt. Timothy Pols said in a statement to WOOD. “The caller indicated that the previously arrested suspect had returned and again entered the house.”
While Wyoming police claim officers followed procedure, Brown and Thorne felt race was at the heart of the incident.
“The level of the response and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a take-back. It really threw me back,” Brown said.
While the whole incident only lasted only a few moments, Brown believes it’s left a lasting impact.
“I feel pretty anxious, or nervous or maybe even a little bit scared about what do I do to protect myself if I’m going to show a home and the authorities just get called on a whim like that,” he said. “Am I just automatically the criminal? Because that’s pretty much how we were treated in that situation.”