Anthony Edwards, a Black prospective homebuyer, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati and three officers from the Cincinnati Police Department on July 15 after he and Black realtor, Jerry Isham, were held at gunpoint and allegedly detained for no reason in November 2018, according to a report from Atlanta Black Star.
The homebuyer and the realtor alleged they were deprived of their civil rights. Thomas Branigan, a retired Cincinnati Police Department motorcycle officer, confronted the men. Branigan called 9-1-1 and reported “two Black male subjects force the front door open,” according to the lawsuit obtained by Fox 19. The incident occurred at 1093 Morado Drive in the West Price Hill section of Cincinnati.
Read the complete lawsuit here.
The lawsuit also stated that Edwards and Isham went to the home located in a predominantly white neighborhood, and Isham used the lockbox code to enter the house.
Within minutes, three white officers from the Cincinnati Police Department showed up with guns blazing. The officers identified as David Knox and Dustin Peet arrived first, then Officer Rose Valentino showed up at the scene. She was the only officer wearing a bodycam. That camera filmed the entire incident.
During the video, a total of nine officers end up at the scene. Valentino drew her weapon, pointed it at the house while yelling at Edwards and Isham to raise their hands, and come out. Valentino handcuffed and searched Isham without permission even though there is a written procedure within the Cincinnati Police Department regarding consent.
Edwards was eventually handcuffed and questioned as well. The video clearly showed Officer Rose Valentino pulling realtor business cards from Isham’s pockets. Although she had proof he was a realtor, she asked for more identification.
The potential homebuyer, who was visibly upset, explained to the officers that he had an appointment to view the house and identifies Isham as his realtor.
Edwards expressed his disdain for “white people calling the god—- police.”
An unidentified white officer responded by saying that the caller “was being a good neighbor.”
Read Cincinnati Police Department here.
Not one of the near dozen cops checked for physical evidence of a burglary. The front door was still intact, and no windows were broken. The men cooperated with police, yet they handcuffed the men as if they were criminals.
Branigan, the retired cop, was allowed to stay on the scene as officers questioned the two men.
According to the lawsuit, Sergeant Tytus Fillmore gave the ok to remove the handcuffs from Isham and Edwards even though there was no probable cause for the restraints. The video doesn’t show that order from the sergeant. The suit also claimed that portions of the bodycam footage were deleted.
“Notwithstanding the confirmation of the presence and use of the lockbox, Isham and Edwards continued to be handcuffed with their freedom and liberty restrained,” the suit reads. “It was not until a complete search of the residence, and further consultation with the sergeant from the Cincinnati Police Department on the scene did Officer Knox finally direct that handcuffs be removed from Isham and Edwards.”
“On April 18, 2019, the city of Cincinnati, through the Office of the City Solicitor, acknowledged that, while certain responsive video recordings were provided, certain responsive video recordings were not provided in response to the public records request and, in fact, a total of seven responsive videos had been destroyed,” the lawsuit states.
Edwards made a statement about being racially profiled stating, ‘Basically we were guilty until proven innocent in their eyes. It was all about we’re black, they’re white, and this retired police officer’s word is over us all, and we had no defense until they found out, “Yeah, they are here looking at this house.”’
Branigan later disclosed that he didn’t get a good look at the prospective homebuyer or the realtor. He wasn’t named in the suit because he is now protected as a civilian since he retired.