Charles Anderson, the Michigan police officer found to have KKK memorabilia in his home, has been fired following a disciplinary hearing within the Muskegon Police Department.
Last month, Anderson was outed when a couple, the Mathises, toured his home that was for sale. After seeing the framed KKK document, “Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Application for Citizenship,” Army veteran and prospective homebuyer Rob Mathis took to Facebook to share what he saw. Mathis, who is Black, said he felt disgusted by what he saw. His post went viral.
“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 says in the post.
Though Mathis did not identify Anderson by name in his post, commenters did. Anderson was placed on leave pending an investigation that began Aug. 8.
Upon announcing the investigation, the Muskegon Police Department acknowledged the post, which brought to their attention the possibility of Anderson “being in possession of certain items associated with a white supremacy group.”
In his Facebook post, Mathis said he also saw Confederate flags throughout the home.
In 2009, Anderson fatally shot a 23-year-old unarmed Black man Julius Allen-Ray Johnson. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing when the shooting was deemed to be an act of self-defense.
However, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson had previously told MLive that the results of the police department investigation will play a role in determining whether the prosecutor’s office will reopen the 2009 case.
“Whether or not officer Anderson has racist tendencies or not, would that move the needle one way or another? Hilson told the outlet in Aug. “I guess I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. I need a completed internal investigation.”
Anderson had worked at the Muskegon Police Department for 20 years prior to being terminated.
The Muskegon Police Department Policy and Procedure Order does not specifically ban private displays of racist materials, MLive reports. However, it does outline that officers should not conduct themselves 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 says.
It also states officers have a duty to avoid, both on and off duty, conduct that reflects unfavorably on the department, including any behavior that brings the department “disrepute,” discredits the individual as a member of the department, or “impairs the operation, effectiveness or efficiency of the department and/or its members.”
Though Muskegon has a majority white population, over 31% of residents are Black.