The list of inconspicuous things Black folks apparently can’t do in this country without someone calling the cops is already miles long. Alas, it keeps growing.
NBC News recently spoke to real estate agent Eric Brown, who said he was showing a friend and his 15-year-old son a Wyoming, Michigan house when seven police officers suddenly arrived outside. Brown said the officers ordered the trio to come out from of the house and promptly placed them in handcuffs.
From NBC News:
“Brown asked what the disturbance was and didn’t get an answer. Before he was about to be placed in the cruiser, he urged an officer to go into his pocket, pull out his wallet and find his business card, showing that he is a real estate agent. “I’m just showing the house,” he said.
The officer paused, and asked how Brown got in the house. Still handcuffed, Brown said he was led back to the entrance of the house to demonstrate how he got the key out of the lockbox.
The officers, with the Wyoming Police Department, took the handcuffs off the three and apologized, Brown said. They told him the house recently had a squatter. The squatter’s black Mercedes resembled Brown’s black Genesis.
But he couldn’t shake the feeling that in the overwhelmingly white neighborhood, he, his friend and his friend’s son had been racially profiled.”
Brown told NBC that the seven officers on scene were all white, didn’t announce themselves and did “zero due diligence.”
More from NBC News:
“They didn’t come there to talk. The way that they moved around the house, Roy [Thorne, Brown’s client and friend] with his military training recognized that posturing. It flipped from we’re showing a house to we need to make it out of here alive,” Brown said. “I trusted that we were in danger, very serious danger.”
In a statement to WOOD-TV, the Wyoming Police Department said officers were responding to a 911 call from a neighbor who said the house was being broken into. The caller indicated the same suspect who was arrested for breaking into the same house in July was back at it again, police said.
According to WOOD, the police statement didn’t mention anything about the officers surrounding the house or the fact that they didn’t announce their presence, but said they handcuffed the three due to the department’s protocol.
It also apparently didn’t matter to the officers that there were neighbors Brown said he and his clients waved to and interacted with outside before they went into the house. I’d assume they’d vouch for the three if asked, but whether police actually talked to anyone else in the neighborhood about what they saw before surrounding the place is another question without an immediate answer.
Brown and Thorne told NBC that while they are speaking with a lawyer, they are currently focused on getting the support needed for all three to heal from the incident. Here’s to hoping they get the support they need and much more.