WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — An incident in which a local realtor was put in handcuffs while showing a home to a client last Sunday in Wyoming was standard procedure, police say.
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.
Realtor Eric Brown and his client Roy Thorne said they were racially profiled, but the Wyoming Department of Public Safety says it was standard procedure.
News 8 received police dashcam and bodycam footage, as well as audio from the dispatch call and radio communications from the incident.
JULY 24 BREAK-IN
Almost two weeks before the incident on July 24, a man was arrested for breaking into the home on Sharon Avenue SW, WDPS said in a statement. His car, a black Mercedes, had been parked in front of the empty home several times.
Officers were dispatched to the house and arrested him, officials say.
On Aug. 2 around 2:15 p.m., the Kent County Dispatch Center received a call saying the man was back.
The caller had been asked by the homeowner the keep an eye on the house, WDPS said.
“Last week Saturday the police came out … there was a young Black man that was squatting in a home that’s for sale, and I know they came and took him away and towed his car away. Well, he’s back there again,” the caller told dispatch. “The car’s sitting out front.”
IN-CAR AND BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE
Around 2:25 p.m., WDPS officers showed up to a home.
When officers arrived, Brown, Thorne and Thorne’s teenage son were all in the home.
Footage shows officers called for the three individuals to come out of the home. The first person they ordered out was Thorne, who was handcuffed.
While being detained, footage provided by WDPS shows an officer pointing a gun at him. Thorne explains to the officer putting him in handcuffs that he is a client of Brown’s.
“Ain’t buying this one (home),” Thorne said as he was being detained.
Police then call for Brown to come out. The officer detaining the realtor explains why they’re being put in handcuffs.
“Neighbors are calling in that you’re breaking into the place,” the officer said.
“I’m the realtor,” Brown responded.
Brown proves he’s a realtor by allowing the officer to look at his realtor’s license inside his wallet.
“If you pull that out, you have to carry that by law, that’s my license,” Brown said.
“Okay,” the officer said after seeing Brown’s credentials.
Brown then goes on to explain how he has access to get inside the home.
The realtor was uncuffed two minutes after initially being detained.
Thorne’s son was also detained. Eventually all three were uncuffed.
Officers explained to Brown, who was driving a Hyundai Genesis on the day of the incident, that a person who has similar car to his had been arrested for breaking into the home on July 24. A concerned neighbor thought it was the same car, which led to the neighbor to call police about a possible break-in.
“Our other officer arrested someone here a couple days ago who had a black Mercedes,” an officer said.
“My car definitely looks like a black Mercedes,” Brown responded.
After concluding that the incident was a misunderstanding, officers apologized to Brown, Thorne and Thorne’s son.
“Thank you, gentlemen,” said one of the officers. “Hope you have a better day, sorry about the confusion.”
“RACE PLAYED NO ROLE,” WDPS SAYS
Putting them in handcuffs was standard procedure, WDPS says.
WDPS declined a request from News 8 to do an interview, but did offer a statement with additional details about the incident.
“Community members and the media have asked for a response regarding whether or not the race of the Realtor and his clients played a role in the police response to this incident,” the statement said in part. “After a thorough internal review of the actions of each of our public safety officers who responded to this incident, we have concluded race played no role in our officers’ treatment of the individuals who were briefly detained, and our officers responded appropriately. 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.”
News 8 also reached out to Brown about doing an interview. He was not available to speak on Friday.