BRENTWOOD, TENN. (WSMV) - Last month a caller dialed Brentwood Police to report a Black man inside a vacant home.
"I saw a couple people drive down, into the house, it’s not the previous owner. Again, it’s an empty house. Open the garage and pull into the garage. It’s not a realtor," the caller told 911 on June 20.
The home was not vacant and belonged to James Crumlin, who was shocked to find three Brentwood Police officers at his front door.
“I just immediately thought, maybe they’re looking for somebody. I had no idea of what was going to happen," Crumlin said.
The officers want proof that this is his home.
“So I go to get my driver’s license. I walk back and right as I come to the front door, I saw one of the officers dart around to the side of my house," Crumlin said. "And I’m thinking that’s odd, where is he going? Then I’m thinking, oh, he probably thinks I’m going to run out the back door. As if I don’t live here.”
The interaction ended without issue. A few weeks removed from the incident, Crumlin said he is still shaken.
“I mean I’m thinking if I didn’t come to the door when I did, they might have come in,” Crumlin said. “But if they did, there’s a slight possibility I would not be here today.”
During the pandemic, Crumlin, who is an Ironman Triathlete and the Founder of Nashville’s Capitol Steps workout, has been hosting those workouts remotely every Monday and Thursday outside on the front steps of this very home.
“Just because you have these ideas. These false ideas about how things should be in your neighborhood, that’s not how they are," Crumlin said. "I live here. I’ve lived here for 13 years.”
News 4 reached out to the woman who made the 911 call and she declined a recorded interview.
But she reached out to Crumlin and left an apology in his mailbox. She called him with an invitation to meet in person.
“I’d be willing to talk to her, because this is a teachable moment," Crumlin said.
In the end, Crumlin said he is hoping sharing his story will become a teachable moment for others as well.
“Anytime that you call, especially in today’s environment, if you call the police on any black person, there’s a strong possibility that person may not survive," Crumlin said.
News 4 also reached out to the Brentwood Police Department and asked if it was appropriate to call the police in that incident.
Brentwood Police responded with the following statement, “Our message to the public has always been ‘see something, say something’. We always want to help those in need.”