Black real estate agent and his clients handcuffed during house tour

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / asiandelight

House hunting seems to be the latest reason to harrass Black people. A Black father, his son, and their Black real estate agent filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Wyoming, Michigan, the Wyoming police chief and six police officers on Oct. 1 after they were ordered by police officers out of the home they were touring and handcuffed.

The incident occurred in August when real estate agent Eric Brown was showing a home to his client, Roy Thorne, and his 15-year-old son, Samuel, when police, responding to a neighbor’s report, showed up at the house, and ordered those inside to leave with their hands in the air and handcuffed them. All three were released soon after. A neighbor called police because they believed a person who had previously been arrested for unlawful entry had returned to the home. The suspect in the previous incident drove a black Mercedes but the officers only found two vehicles, a black Hyundai Genesis sedan and a black Chevrolet Malibu.

According to CNN, the lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Western District of Michigan, seeks unspecified damages on five counts, claiming six police officers violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights, including unlawful detainment and excessive force, as well as violations of equal protection. Other counts include assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The city of Wyoming, the six officers involved, and the police chief are all named as defendants.

Footage captured by police dashcams and body cameras showed the officers arriving and ordering the three out of the house with their hands in the air. They left the home one by one, following the officers’ orders. They were each handcuffed, and Thorne and his teenage son were briefly placed in separate patrol vehicles.

The lawsuit attributes the way the plaintiffs were treated to the fact they are Black, “Had the Plaintiffs not been African American men, they would not have been held at gun point, would not have been detained, and would not have been handcuffed.”

Two officers unholstered their firearms during the incident, the Wyoming police said previously, noting that this is standard protocol when officers respond to a “reported home invasion in progress with multiple individuals inside a home.” The officers had their body cameras turned on and can also be heard apologizing to the three victims after the incident.
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