‘Disturbing’: Realtor speaks out after release of handcuffing video

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — On Aug. 1, a local realtor, his client and his client’s son were put in handcuffs during a showing after armed Wyoming police officers responded to the house on a report of a break-in.

The Wyoming Department of Public Safety said it was standard procedure, but realtor Eric Brown says it should have never happened. Brown, his client Roy Thorne and Thorne’s son were all detained.

“This is something we’ll never forget and it’s an unfortunate memory,” Brown said on Saturday afternoon. 

The realtor spoke to News 8 about the incident a day after WDPS released video and audio of the incident. 

“You said it’s a black car, black Mercedes?” a dispatcher is heard asking the caller in an audio recording from Aug. 1.

“A black Mercedes,” the caller answered.

On July 24, a man with a black Mercedes had been arrested at the home for unlawful entry. The caller thought it was the same person. 

“Speaking to Chief (Kim) Koster, she expressed that (the officers) didn’t know that he was still in custody or that his car was in impound,” Brown said. “That’s my point, they should though. You don’t show up in a tactical way to do that type of business, that we, the three of us, me, Roy, and Sammy intended to do, which is to threaten us into submission. There was no let’s understand this situation, let’s go a little bit further to make sure we don’t impact someone’s life or accidentally kill and shoot someone. That to me is disturbing.”

A total of five officers showed up to the incident. In a release accompanying the video and audio, the department states two officers were armed. 

“Two officers had their sidearms unholstered during this incident,” the release said. “One was on perimeter at the rear of the house and never had any contact with the individuals who were detained. The other officer was providing cover at the front of the house. When responding to a reported home invasion in progress with multiple individuals inside a home, this is standard protocol.”

Brown says that he saw more than two officers with their guns drawn. 

“I don’t feel that quite matches up in regard to some of the quotes and statements, there were two officers only with handguns,” Brown said. “I know for a fact that while I was there, I saw two officers around the back and side of the home that had handguns.”

The department provided dash cam video and several body-cam videos. 

“I hope our counsel will be able to get some real footage that would give us a true account of everything that really happened,” Brown said. 

The realtor feels that no one should have been placed in handcuffs. 

“In regard to the handcuffing piece, it would’ve been nice if someone would have come out and had a conversation with us prior to that even, talk to us,” Brown said. “Who is the lead officer here? Keep your hands up, I want to come have a conversation with you.”

Brown feels he, along with Thorne and Thorne’s teenage son, were racially profiled. He’s speaking out about the incident with the hope that WDPS reviews its policies in these types of situations and so that other people don’t go through a similar experience.

“If it’s just one person that doesn’t have to go through it again, it’s worth it, to do the good lord’s work,” Brown said. 

The realtor has been in the realtor industry for 20 years. He says buying a home is an American dream. It’s a dream Roy Thorne and his son have put on hold since the incident. 

On Friday, News 8 reached out to WPDS about conducting an interview regarding the incident, but the department declined. 

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