Cincinnati, OH — In the land of the free, carrying out perfectly legal behavior — like being a realtor, showing a client a home — can and will get you assaulted with a deadly weapon and placed in chains. When you are a person of color, statistics show the chances of this happening to you increase astronomically. As the video below illustrates, those who claim "if you don't do anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about," are dead wrong.
On November 17, Jerry Isham, a Cincinnati realtor, and his client, Anthony Edwards, learned the hard way what doing legal things can lead to in the 'see something say something' police state. Their subsequent treatment was so disturbing that the City of Cincinnati actually issued a formal apology for their officers' actions that day.
According to a lawsuit filed this month, a retired cop, Thomas Branigan, called 911 and reported “two black males forced the front door open.” But these two black males did nothing of the sort. Instead, Isham had used his licensed realtor key to obtain entry into the residence and he was legally allowed to be inside, having been granted permission from the owner.
Nevertheless, Branigan told the dispatcher the house is for sale, but "it's not an open house today... They pulled on the front door and forced it open."
Choosing to believe the thin blue line instead of logic, the responding officers showed up with guns blazing. The two innocent men inside were assaulted with deadly weapons as officers demanded they exit the home.
"Next thing you know, police cars everywhere," said Edwards.
"Hands up!" the officer yells.
" My hands up. What are ya'll doing?" responds Edwards.
"Tell your friend to come out too. Hands up," the officer says as deadly weapons are aimed at the two innocent black men.
"Come on man, we got a f*****g appointment to see this house," Edwards responds.
"Well, people saw you forcing your way in, that's why we're here," the officer explains.
Edwards responded, "Man, that's just white people calling the g******n police doing that b******t." And he was right.
Immediately after realizing the man had real estate cards in his pocket and there were no signs of forced entry, the pair should have been let go. Instead they were detained longer as backup arrived.
Edwards told the officers that this had to do with the color of their skin. One of the officers, who happened to be white, responded in anger, claiming that was absurd.
“Quit playing the race card, OK? That stuff doesn’t fly anymore,” the cop says, clearly ignoring that this was likely the sole motivator for this entire situation.
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If a white man would have been letting another white man into the same home, it is highly unlikely that the police would've been called at all.
"According to the complainant they forced entry, but doesn't look like it to me," one officer was recorded saying on body camera footage. Yet still, the pair was detained, handcuffed, and searched.
"The call itself seemed racially motivated. The way they acted, they way they proceeded to handle us, was racially motivated," said Edwards.
Naturally, the police union is claiming the officers acted appropriately when they drew their guns and pointed them at the innocent realtor and his client instead of simply questioning them and asking if they had a right to be there.
"They were called for breaking and entering, which is a felony in progress. They have every right to go about this with some caution," Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils said. Apparently, "caution" is training your gun on innocent people.
“Let’s remember that this whole thing got resolved in less than five minutes and with an apology," added Hils.
"They don't know me from anybody else, so why would they judge me? Cause the color of my skin," said Edwards.
The city doesn't feel the same as the police union and after the incident they issued the following apology:
"The city regrets this extremely unfortunate and unnecessary situation. Mr. Isham and Mr. Edwards did nothing wrong. We have reached a settlement in the amount of $151,000 that includes voluntary training with police and the Board of Realtors. Further, we are in the process of implementing implicit bias training for all city employees. We sincerely apologize."
Luckily this situation resolved without any bloodshed.
As TFTP reported earlier this year, Karle Robinson, 61, found himself in a similar predicament and found out the hard way what moving a TV into your new house looks like while being black in a police state. Now, after police have refused to take action, the ACLU is stepping in to demand accountability.
According to the report, the American Civil Liberties of Kansas has asked for a state investigation after a black man was detained by local police while moving into his own home.
The ACLU said in March that Karle Robinson was held at gunpoint and handcuffed as he moved into a home he had purchased in Tonganoxie, about 30 miles west of Kansas City.
"Each of these incidents would be concerning had they been alleged independently," the ACLU said in a statement. "Together, they suggest a pervasive culture of racial bias."