A Black realtor was showing a home to his client when police surrounded the house with guns drawn.
Police told the realtor a neighbor had called because she thought they were breaking into the house.
The realtor and this client told a local news outlet they believe they were racially profiled.
A Black real estate agent in Wyoming, Michigan, was showing a property to a client last weekend when police arrived and handcuffed them.
Eric Brown was showing the home to his client, Roy Thorne, and Thorne's 15-year-old son, all of whom are Black, on Sunday afternoon when police surrounded the home, guns drawn, and ordered them to come outside, The Washington Post reported. The whole group was handcuffed and placed in separate vehicles.
Police told them the house was broken into weeks earlier and that a neighbor had called to say it was happening again. They said the neighbor thought she recognized their car as the same black Mercedes used by the person that had broken in.
When police arrived, the cars outside the home were a Chevrolet and a Hyundai, according to The Post.
Once Brown was handcuffed he was able to show police his realtor credentials and explain why they were at the house. After clearing up the situation, police quickly released them and apologized.
But Brown and Thorne told local outlet WOOD-TV that they felt they were racially profiled.
"The level of the response and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a take back, it really threw me back," Brown said.
He told The Post that he thought to himself: "We're going to die today."
Thorne said he was worried for his son, and that the officers apologized multiple times but "the damage is done."
"My son was a little disturbed, he hasn't seen anything like that … he's not going to forget this," Thorne told WOOD-TV.
The Wyoming Police Department said the officers' response was protocol and that there was no "racial element to it."
Dashboard and body camera footage released by the Wyoming Department of Public Safety to WOOD-TV showed how the incident unfolded.
"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," WDPS said.
But Brown said he now feels nervous about how to protect himself while he's doing his job.
"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," he told WOOD-TV. "Am I just automatically the criminal? Because that's pretty much how we were treated in that situation."
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