A black realtor was showing a house to a black man and his fifteen-year-old son in a Michigan suburb last week when they looked outside and saw that things had taken an unexpected turn...
Roy Thorne was looking at a property in Michigan with his son when police officers with guns drawn surrounded the house.
Thorne spoke to CNN about the issue. "I knew once they surrounded the home they were preparing for a standoff," he told Don Lemon Friday. "And so my instincts told me we need to get out of here, we need to get to where they can see that we're not a threat."
The issue had arisen after authorities got a call from a neighbor claiming a suspect, who had been arrested the week prior to the house viewing, had returned to the scene, as per the Wyoming, Michigan Department of Public Safety.
But the caller had made a big mistake...
If you don't think we should teach children about systemic racism, try to explain why police responded to a neighbor's 911 call by drawing their guns and handcuffing a Black realtor, his Black client and his teenage son who were touring a house for sale. https://t.co/0sIsd8C6ds
— Larry Noble (@LarryNoble_DC) August 6, 2021
The realtor Eric Brown was innocently giving Thorne and his son a viewing of the property in the community of Wyoming, just outside Grand Rapids, having already scheduled the viewing online the day before.
And even though the 3 were released without incident, they were ordered out of the property with their hands above their heads, handcuffed, and Thorne and his young son were placed in the back seats of separate vehicles.
"I was worried," Thorne explained. "But I was just more concerned about getting my son out of that situation and getting us all out of there."
At the moment that it all kicked off, Thorne was left to conclude it was a racially aggravated arrest: "At that moment, it certainly felt that way," he said in explaining that he thought he was being racially profiled.
According to Thorne, a lot of force, which definitely wasn't necessary, had been used in order to carry out the arrest.
"Race played no role in our officer's treatment of the individuals, and our officers responded appropriately," the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said in a statement.
"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," the statement said.
But, even so, the incident scared the fifteen-year-old Samuel Thorne, who told Lemon he felt: "Confusion and shock and fear... because I had no idea why they were all down there at that time."
"It went from, 'Dad, there's cops outside,' to 'come outside with your hands up,'" Samuel said. "That was kind of like, just from zero to 100."
There has also been footage released from the dashboard camera in one of the officer's vehicles showing police arriving on the scene and ordering the people inside the property to come out with their hands in the air, with 2 officers seen approaching the house with guns drawn at the ready.
The officers are also heard acknowledging there had been a "misunderstanding."
And, even though it seemed a little drastic, the police officers believe that they simply did what they were taught to do.
"When responding to a reported home invasion in progress with multiple individuals inside a home, this is standard protocol," the statement continued.
Police Chief Kimberly Koster has also reached out to Eric Brown so as to talk about the incident, but a time has not been decided, as Brown wants Samuel there too.
"We want some reform and some change here," Brown said to Lemon.
Thorne told CNN, in response to asking if he had a message to the neighbor: "We're just like you. We occupy the same space. We do the same things. We go to the same places."
"And if you see a crime, report a crime. But if you see people -- black people, any minority -- don't report people doing normal things," Thorne said.
"You do that, you don't realize that you can change their life or have their life taken, just you making a phone call. In this instance, it could have been three.
"You could've changed my life, changed my son's life," he said.
Let us know what you think.