Two black men with their hands in the air.

@brutamerica/TikTok

‘They were afraid of them moving in’: Viral TikTok shows police handcuffing Black realtor, mistaking him for an intruder

A neighbor had called the police on the realtor and his client.

 

Jillian Price

Internet Culture

Published Aug 11, 2021   Updated Aug 12, 2021, 8:08 am CDT

In a viral TikTok video posted by @brutamerica, a Wyoming, Michigan police officer is heard apologizing to a Black realtor after handcuffing him, his client, and his client’s son after mistaking them for someone who had broken into the house days before.

According to the TikTok, on August 1, Eric Brown, the realtor, was showing a house to Roy Thorne and Thorne’s son. The police arrived shortly after the three went into the home, saying a neighbor called to report a break-in. A previous break-in had occurred at the same house the week before, according to Daily Mail

When police arrived, the bodycam footage shows officers yelling for them to come outside one by one, with their hands up. Officers allegedly had their guns drawn as they were walking. 

As the officer is handcuffing Brown, he says they got a call that someone was breaking into the house. Before Brown is put into the police car, he tells the officers that he is the real estate agent, showing the home to his client. 

@brutamerica

Someone called the police on this realtor while he was giving a tour of a home. Here’s what happened next …

♬ original sound – Brut

“I’m the realtor,” Brown said.

Brown then shows the officer that he has an app on his phone that allows him entrance to the home. 

Once officers realized that Brown was there to show his clients the home, they were released. Officers also apologized to them, saying that it was a misunderstanding since someone called saying that someone was breaking in again.

“I mean I do apologize obviously. I mean thank you for going along with it,” the officer said. 

Since the incident, Brown has told the New York Times that this was racially motivated. 

“If we walked out of there, and I’d been a white lady and her white client and daughter, they would’ve dropped those guns in a heartbeat,” he said.

Some of the commenters on TikTok think otherwise, even blaming Brown’s clothing choice. 

“If he was wearing different clothing he wouldn’t have had that happen. Nothing to do with race,” @carbonatedassjuice said. 

“The amount of ppl blaming the cops surprise me. The cops did everything 100% right in the situation they were dealt,” @_outcastgaming_ said. 

Other commenters agreed that it did have something to do with race. 

“This was obviously racially motivated and y’all can’t convince me otherwise,” @rogue11044. 

“The neighbors weren’t afraid of them breaking in. They were afraid of them moving in,” @sweatquity said. 

After an internal investigation by the city’s Department of Public Safety, the police department told the Daily Dot that it concluded that race did not play a role in this incident. 


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*First Published: Aug 11, 2021, 4:38 pm CDT