Read more: Minorities and mortgages: Black leaders’ thoughts on closing the racial divide

Once in the front yard and with guns pointed at them, the three were handcuffed and questioned before being released on the spot. Speaking to the media afterwards, Thorne – an Army veteran – said they feared they would all be killed, while Brown accused the police and the caller who had reported the break-in of racial prejudice.

Charlie Oppler, the president of the National Association of Realtors, the country’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members, issued a statement accusing the police of racial profiling, while describing the detainment of Brown as “deeply disturbing”.

He said: “While, thankfully, neither Brown nor his clients were physically harmed in the incident, racial profiling – and the humiliation, indignity and trauma that comes with it – has no place in our country.

“NAR’s top priority is the safety and well-being of all of our members as we work tirelessly each and every day to make the American Dream of owning a home a reality for all.”