Black real estate agent and his black clients file lawsuit after being handcuffed by police at home show

Real estate agent Eric Brown was showing a house to his client, Roy Thorne, and his 15-year-old son, Samuel, on August 1 when police, responding to a neighbor’s call, showed up at home, ordered those inside to leave with their hands up and handcuffed them.

They were all released soon after.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 1 in U.S. 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 detention and excessive force, as well as violations of equal protection. Other counts include assault and battery, forcible confinement and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

The city of Wyoming, the six officers involved and the police chief are all named as accused.

A city spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit on Friday, telling CNN: “Wyoming city does not comment on pending litigation.”

CNN was unable to determine whether the chief of police or the other six officers have legal representation to comment on their behalf. CNN also contacted the South Kent Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police but had no response.

The lawsuit stems from an incident on August 1, when a neighbor called authorities to report that a suspect had been arrested at the property a week earlier for Entrance had returned to the scene in the same car, according to a timeline previously released by the Wyoming Department of Public Safety.

In the audio of the appeal released by Wyoming Police in August, the appellant is heard on the dispatch that a “young black man” had been arrested at the house the previous week. Police said it was a different appellant from the original incident, but “the appellant was aware of the previous arrest and had seen the arrested person and his vehicle”, and the owner had him asked to watch the house.

An officer from Wyoming contacted the appellant to clarify that it was the same suspect and the same vehicle as in the previous incident. The caller confirmed that was the case, police said.

The appellant was wrong, however. Brown was showing Thorne and his son a tour of the house after scheduling the online tour the day before, Brown told officers, according to body camera footage released by police.

Images captured by on-board cameras and police body cameras showed officers arriving and ordering the three to exit the house with their hands in the air. They left the house one by one, following the orders of the officers. They were each handcuffed, and Thorne and her teenage son were briefly placed in the back seats of separate patrol vehicles.

All three were released without incident after Brown explained he was a real estate agent. Officers are heard in the footage explaining that the house had been broken into the previous week, acknowledging that it appeared to be a “misunderstanding”. Officers removed Thorne and her son’s handcuffs and are heard apologizing.

The lawsuit attributes the way the plaintiffs were treated to the fact that they are black, saying: “If the plaintiffs had not been African-American men, they would not have been held under the threat of a firearm, would not have been detained and would not have been handcuffed. . “

Two officers unsheathed their firearms during the incident, Wyoming Police previously said, noting that this is standard protocol when officers respond to an “ongoing reported home invasion with multiple people. inside a house “.

Further, the lawsuit claims officers had proof that neither Brown, Thorne nor his son were the person who had been arrested the previous week because their cars and license plates did not match those of the previous suspect. .

In August, the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said it had conducted an internal review and concluded that “race played no role in the treatment of individuals by our officers, and our officers responded appropriately. “.

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About Wanda G. Warren

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