Cincinnati Settles Lawsuit with Black Realtor and Client Detained at Gunpoint
It wasn't exactly the most welcoming gesture to the neighborhood; a 911 phone call to police about two black men breaking into a home. The suspicious caller identified himself as a "retired police officer" and said he spotted the men breaking into the house from his front yard across the street.
"The house is for sale, but it's not an open house today," Tom Branigan told the 911 dispatcher in November 2018. "And I just seen two male black subjects force the front door open."
The information was relayed to Cincinnati police who came rushing to the home and were greeted by Branigan who told them a black man "put his shoulder on the door and opened it."
Three cops proceeded to surround the house, ordering the men out at gunpoint. Jerry Isham, the realtor who was showing the house to Anthony Edwards, told them he was a realtor.
But being the bigger black man of the two, he was quickly handcuffed "til we can confirm" as a cop told him. Edwards was handcuffed only after he accused the cops of racial profiling.
"Quit playing the race card," a cop told him at one point.
Meanwhile, Branigan, who retired from the Cincinnati Police Department, remained hovering around the scene. He had told dispatchers he was armed but the cops were more concerned about the black guys who were not armed, according to the lawsuit that was filed against the city Monday.
After the cops determined there was no break-in, they released the men and engaged in conversation with the retired cop but police either turned off their body cameras of destroyed the footage that recorded that conversation.
In fact, the lawsuit states that police destroyed seven videos from the scene obtained from the nine cops who eventually responded. But the police report states that Branigan admitted "he didn't have a good view of the entry and may have been mistaken."
Edwards said he had been planning on purchasing the home after having been approved for a loan but changed his mind after the incident.
The lawsuit, which can be read here, was settled Thursday, three days after it was filed, for $151,000 with $75,500 going to each man. The settlement also includes "voluntary training" with the board of realtors in the event they would like to avoid being sued in the future.
Watch the video above along with interviews of the people involved.