Two years ago, Finney Law Firm was proud to represent African American Realtor Jerry Isham and his African American home buyer, Tony Edwards, who were accosted by seven Cincinnati Police officers, guns drawn, then handcuffed for nearly five minutes, and forcibly searched, simply for the “crime” of showing a home listed for sale (and really it was no more complicated than that).  The City of Cincinnati settled the civil claim 16 hours and 30 minutes after the suit was filed by Finney Law Firm attorneys.

Then, in August of this year, the Isham story appeared to repeat itself in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the arrest of African American Realtor Eric Brown of Keller Williams and his buyer, Roy Thorne, who were arrested simply for viewing a home listed for sale. Read about that here.

On November 13, the National Association of Realtors will feature Isham and Brown in a symposium entitled “Race & Real Estate” at its annual Realtors  Conference & Expo in San Diego, California to shine a spotlight on the extra challenges faced by African Americans in the real estate industry.

Our firm was proud to represent Jerry Isham, a top real estate professional in Cincinnati and the owner of Movement Realty, who did not deserve this shabby treatment by Cincinnati Police, in this matter.  We are pleased that his case has been given this important platform for further exploration of racism in the real estate industry.

Isham is the former President of both the Ohio and Cincinnati Realtists Associations and is currently the Region VIII Vice President of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

Our Public Interest Law team at Finney Law Firm, including Chris Finney and Curt Hartman, pursued the public records (mostly dash cam and body cam videos) of the incident, and filed this case in federal court on behalf of Isham and Edwards.

If you are attending the National Association of Realtors’ Convention & Expo, we encourage you to attend this important session.

  • For more background on the Isham story and the work of the Finney Law Firm’s Public Interest Law team, read here and watch here. The story captivated Cincinnati television viewers and was the topic of radio talk shows for weeks.  Watch here, here, here, and here and read here and here.  It even made news internationally.  Read here. Veteran Cincinnati reporter Jennifer Edwards Baker of WXIX, Channel 19, initially broke the story. The Youtube video linked to this story analyzing in detail the Isham/Edwards arrest has had more than 5.6 million views, so the story has since captivated the nation.



Unless you live under a mossy rock, last week you read or saw that the Finney Law Firm won a swift and important victory for our clients in an important civil rights case.

At 10 PM Monday night, our firm filed a lawsuit exposing the unlawful handcuffing, arrest and search of a black Realtor and his homebuyer by nine police officers responding to a caller falsely claiming a breaking and entering at a home for sale in Price Hill.

At the same time as the filing, Channel 19 broke the story with a detailed newscast using body cam videos from the officers showing guns drawn, handcuffing for a protracted 4-5 minutes, and an illegal search of the innocent pair.  The house was for sale and had a “for sale” sign in the yard and a lockbox providing keyed access to the home.  The Realtor properly had made an appointment for the showing and legally made entry into the home via the key provided.

Our clients, Realtor Jerry Isham and his home buyer Tony Edwards, entrusted the important case to our firm.

In addition to the constitutional violations by the responding police officers, the City had illegally destroyed seven of the body camera videos months after our firm formally requested them, in itself actionable in a law suit.

At 2:30 PM the following day, fewer than 16 hours and 30 minutes after the filing of the suit, the City settled the case for 100% of the demand of the clients, including police and Realtor training seminars on police interaction on home sales.

In this instance, the Finney Law Firm provided swift and full justice for the Plaintiffs, but also sent a message into the community about respect for the constitutional rights of African American citizens engaged in entirely lawful behavior.

You may see the Channel 19 story here and read about the settlement in the Enquirer here.

In addition to our appreciation to our clients for entrusting our firm with this case, we also thank the City Solicitor’s office and Mayor Cranley for their leadership in quickly recognizing the legitimacy of the claims and settling them.

Tonight, Channel 19 has a well-researched story by Jennifer Edwards Baker of our clients, Jerry Isham — Realtor — and his buyer Tony Edwards, innocently looking at a house in West Price Hill for possible sale, when they were rousted by eight Cincinnati Police Officers with guns drawn.  The police then illegally detained and handcuffed the pair, and illegally searched Mr. Isham’s pockets.

They had done absolutely nothing illegal; they had done absolutely nothing wrong.

It’s truly as if CPD officers have received no training on the constitutional limit on the exercise of their their policy powers.

Incidentally, CPD illegally destroyed seven of the body cam and dash cam videos of the incident after they were subject to a formal public records request from the City.

Read the Ch. 19 story here:   Lawsuit: Realtor, prospective home buyer illegally detained by CPD after retired cop calls 911.

The Fox 19 video story is here.

For more information, call Chris Finney at 513-720-2996.