The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

House Viewing While Black

Aug 16, 2021

In broad daylight, a black realtor, Mr. Brown, showed a house for sale to a black potential home buyer, Mr. Thorne, on August 1st in Wyoming, Michigan, a working-class suburb of Grand Rapids.

The two were viewing the upstairs when Mr. Thorne’s 15-year-old son rushed to tell them about “a lot of police officers outside.” Looking out a window, the home buyer saw an officer pointing a gun at him.

When the three exited with hands up, they were handcuffed by five officers and placed in separate squad cars for questioning. The realtor was eventually able to show proof he had permission to be there. The three terrorized men were not arrested.

Police later released the 911 call. In it, an elderly woman tells a dispatcher, “last week Saturday, the police came out. There was a young Black man that was squatting in a home that was for sale. I know they came and took him away and towed his car away. Well, he’s back there again. The car is sitting out front.”

Said the realtor, “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.

The home buyer, an Army veteran, grew up in Wyoming. He said afterwards, “It’s 100% guaranteed I’m not buying a house in that city.”

This incident became national news when the police video was released. In an official statement, the Wyoming Police Department had the nerve to say this was not racial profiling.

They don’t get to decide. The three men who had guns pointed at them know exactly what they experienced.