State Watch

Ben Crump representing Black realtor, prospective buyer handcuffed at home showing

Greg Nash

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Thursday that he will be representing a Black real estate agent and prospective home buyer who were handcuffed by Michigan police in an incident earlier this month that the two men have claimed was racially motivated. 

Crump, who represented George Floyd’s family in the legal proceedings following his 2020 death, announced in a press release that he had been retained by Michigan realtor Eric Brown and his client, Roy Thorne, over the Aug. 1 incident.

The incident occurred after police received a 911 call about a potential intrusion at the property the men were touring. While the police department in Wyoming, Mich., has denied that race played a role in officers’ actions, Crump said in a Thursday statement that the encounter with Michigan police was “yet another incident of racial profiling.” 

Crump said that Brown, Thorne and Thorne’s 15-year-old son, each of whom were put in handcuffs by police, have all been “completely traumatized by this incident.” 

“What should have been a great day for this father and son, and another day at work for Eric, turned into a day of terror that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” the star attorney added. 

“In America, you can’t walk while Black, drive while Black, sleep while Black, or even work while Black,” he continued. “A Black man shouldn’t fear for his life every time he goes to work.” 

“I won’t stop until these men and this child receive the justice they deserve,” Crump said. 

Crump, who has also represented Breonna Taylor’s family in their demands for accountability from the Louisville police department, did not specifically mention in his press release if the Michigan men planned to file a lawsuit or take other tangible legal action against the Wyoming Police Department. 

Thorne previously told NBC affiliate WOOD-TV that officers had “their guns drawn on us until all of us were in cuffs,” calling the incident “a little traumatizing.” 

“I guess because under the current climate of things, you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he added. 

The local police department said in an initial statement that officers were responding to a report from a caller who believed that a suspect who was arrested for a July 24 intrusion on the property had returned to the house. 

Police added that the three individuals were placed in handcuffs under “department protocol.”

On Tuesday, the city’s Department of Public Safety said that an internal review of the incident showed that “officers responded appropriately” and “according to department policy based on the information available to them at the time.” 

“We have concluded race played no role in our officers’ treatment of the individuals who were briefly detained,” the department added in a statement.

Tags Breonna Taylor George Floyd Michigan police bias Racial profiling racism allegations Real estate

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