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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Michigan Police Officer With KKK Memorabilia in His Home Has Been Fired

Police Officer Charles Anderson

Muskegon, MI — Charles Anderson, a Michigan police officer, was discovered to have kept and displayed a KKK memorabilia in his home. He has been fired since it went public when Rob Mathis, a prospective homebuyer who is Black, saw the items and posted about it on Facebook.

Last month, Rob Mathis and his wife were touring Anderson’s home that was for sale when they saw a framed KKK document with a title “Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Application for Citizenship.” Mathis, who is also an Army veteran, immediately shared it on a now-viral Facebook post, saying he felt disgusted.

“I feel sick to my stomach knowing that I walk to the home of one of the most racist people in Muskegon hiding behind his uniform and possibly harassing people of color and different nationalities,” Mathis said in the post, adding that he also saw Confederate flags throughout the home.

Mathis did not divulge Anderson’s name on the post but commenters identified him. The Muskegon Police Department, where Anderson had been serving as a police officer for 20 years, acknowledged the post and said that Anderson could be “in possession of certain items associated with a white supremacy group.” He was placed on leave pending an investigation since August 8.

Moreover, the recent incident could reopen a case in 2009 where Anderson fatally shot Julius Allen-Ray Johnson, a 23-year old unarmed Black man. Back then, he was cleared of any wrongdoing since it was ruled that he acted in self-defense. But the results of the investigation could change that.

“Whether or not officer Anderson has racist tendencies or not, would that move the needle one way or another?” Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson told MLive in August. “I guess I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. I need a completed internal investigation.”

It has yet been known if the case would be reopened now that Anderson is already terminated.

Although it was not specifically stated in the Muskegon Police Department Policy and Procedure Order that private display of racist materials is illegal, it highlights that officers should not act in a way that would compromise public trust.

“Police officers will, therefore, avoid any conduct that might compromise integrity and thus undercut the public confidence in the officer or this law or this law enforcement agency,” it said.