- WOOD-TV reported that a black real estate agent and clients were handcuffed during a home visit.
- While the police department. in Michigan denied that race was a factor, the officer was convinced it was racial profiling.
- Housing discrimination is rife, as evidenced by black homeownership rates, undervaluation and credit problems, among others.
Michigan real estate agent Eric Brown wanted to show a house to his client Roy Thorne and Thorne’s 15-year-old son on August 1. All three are black.
The screening ended with all in handcuffs, with guns pointed at them, WOOD-TV from Grand Rapids reported. A neighbor had called the police to report that someone had broken into the house Brown was allowed to show. Brown said WOOD-TV and The New York Times that it was clearly racial profiling, while Thorne said it was “a bit traumatic”.
“If we had gotten out of there and I had been a white lady and her white client and daughter, they would have dropped those guns in the blink of an eye,” Brown said.
The property was located in Wyoming, a town near Grand Rapids, which is only 8% black, according to the 2019 census. The data. A statement from the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said a local resident called police about a possible “home invasion.” Five officers at the scene asked the three to leave the house and they handcuffed them before Brown explained that he was an authorized real estate agent to enter the house.
Someone broke into the same house earlier in the week, the statement said, and the neighbor who called the police believed Brown’s car, a Hyundai Genesis, looked like a Mercedes-Benz sedan from the same color that had been parked in the house during the previous arrest.
The police department denied that race had anything to do with it, saying in a statement that although it was “unfortunate” that innocent people were handcuffed, police followed proper procedure.
“After a thorough internal review of the actions of each of our public security officers who responded to this incident, we concluded that race played no role in our officers’ treatment of those who were briefly detained, and our agents responded appropriately, ”the statement said.
Brown and Thorne said they would consider taking legal action “if suing the city brings changes.”
Insider previously reported that black Americans lagged behind white Americans in homeownership, with blacks being refused mortgages at higher rates than whites, although many are creditworthy.
They face other barriers in the housing market that appear to be race-related. For example, The Indianapolis Star reported in May, when a black homeowner asked her white friend to represent her in an appraisal, her home’s value soared by $ 149,000.
A 2018 to study of Brookings found that homes in black neighborhoods are undervalued by an average of $ 48,000, representing $ 156 billion in cumulative losses. Andre Perry, a fellow of the Brookings Institute, told Insider last year: “There is racism in the housing market. Something is happening with valuation practices and policies, the behavior of real estate agents and the loans.”
Thorne told The Times that even though he grew up in Wyoming, it’s “100% guaranteed” that he won’t buy this house again, and he and his son will need to look in a neighborhood where they feel safer. .
“I still have to find a home,” he said. “I just know where not to look.”