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Two Black men — a realtor and a client — and the client’s 15-year-old son were handcuffed and briefly detained during a home viewing after the Wyoming Police Department received a report saying they were breaking into the house on Sunday, August 1, Newsweek reported.
Police had guns drawn until the three were handcuffed, client and father Roy Thorne told local news station WOOD-TV. Once the three were detained realtor Eric Brown was able to show officers his real estate credentials, Brown told the outlet. The incident occurred on Sharon Avenue SW in Wyoming, Michigan.
The Wyoming Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
A statement from the Wyoming Police Department to WGN-TV said that the 911 call came from a neighbor who believed that the suspect was returning after a previous burglary at the same address that occurred on July 24. The suspect from the prior incident was apparently arrested and charged for unlawful entry.
Thorne said the event was traumatizing considering “the current climate of things.”
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Thorne continued.
“The department was responding to a call for service, there wasn’t a racial element to it,” Capt. Timothy Pols told WOOD-TV.
However, Brown and Thorne feel differently.
“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,” Brown said. “Am I just automatically the criminal? Because that’s pretty much how we were treated in that situation.”
“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,” Thorne added.
Brown told WOOD-TV that if he looked different, it’s possible that police would have treated them differently — perhaps the neighbor wouldn’t have called the police at all.
Watch the full interview here: