Muskegon police officer Charles Anderson has been placed on paid vacation and not fired after racist KKK memorabilia was discovered in his home. The department assures the public that they are investigating the allegations.
If you are wondering how the racist material was found in his home, so did we. It was not hidden and, in fact, Anderson proudly displayed it throughout his house. It was discovered by a black man who was touring Anderson’s house because it is for sale.
On Wednesday, Muskegon man, Rob Mathis made the discovery with his wife as their realtor showed them the home. Mathis then went to Facebook where he posted photographic evidence of said material in the form of a framed “Application for citizenship into the Klu Klux Klan.”
“My wife and I have been house shopping for a little over a month now; searching houses in Sterling Heights, GrandRapids, Hudsonville, and Muskegon. Today we were looking at a house in Holton that we both agreed would be perfect, so we meet our realtor to see the house it’s beautiful,” Mathis wrote in a Facebook post.
However, once inside, the couple quickly discovered Anderson’s dark secret.
“As we are walking to the house I’m seeing confederate flags on the walls the dining room table and even the garage. I’m thinking to myself as a joke I’m walking to the imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan‘s house right now,” he said.
Mathis was able to look past the confederate flags, but he was no longer joking when he entered Anderson’s bedroom and found a framed application to the KKK.
“So to my surprise as I walk into the bedroom there’s an application for the Ku Klux Klan in a frame on the wall and this home is an officer of the Muskegon Police Department. I immediately stopped my walk-through and informed the realtor that I am not writing an offer on this home and I am leaving now,” wrote Mathis.
Imagine for a moment how an African American man, who has likely faced some sort of racial discrimination at the hands of police, feels when he walks into the house of a cop and sees the man’s application to the KKK displayed in a frame on the wall. Sickening, indeed.
“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. I’ve thought about this for a few hours now and I thought I would just share with you a picture of the application on the wall,” Mathis said of the incident.
Mathis showed no fear in his post either and even went so far as to call the cop out.
“To the officer, I know who you are and I will be looking at resources to expose your prejudice. As for now pictures speak 1000 words,” Mathis said.
MLive reached out to officer Anderson after the post began to go viral and his response was as follows: “They said not to talk about it. That’s what they told me. Because it’s under internal investigation they said not to make a statement.”
In an interview with MLive, Mathis, a US Army Veteran, elaborated on his feelings.
“I just felt so gross after being in that house, like I needed to be dipped in hand sanitizer,” Rob Mathis added. “I thought, I need to say something because this is a public servant. He can’t be impartial and fair to minorities if that’s how he thinks. I was just mortified.”
Reyna Mathis, Rob’s wife explained how they were initially scared to post the photo out of fear of retaliation. However, they courageously decided to do so because it was so important.
“At first, I didn’t want him to post anything. I was worried about our safety, our kids safety, but then Rob said, ‘We have to stand for something or we’ll fall for anything.’”
According to MLive, Anderson was cleared of killing an unarmed black man in 2009 during a traffic stop.
The department noted that Anderson was beaten in the head and feared for his life and had no other option but to kill 23-year-old Julius Johnson. However, according to MLive, several family members and the Muskegon chapter of the NAACP said at the time that they were dissatisfied with the findings.
While the South has been fertile ground for racist groups, the KKK has penetrated many police departments around the country, as evidenced by the Lynwood horror in Los Angeles.
Larissa Moore and four of her law school colleagues performed an investigation of unsolved civil rights murders from 1946 to 1969, under a Syracuse University program, and confirmed an ugly truth.
During the Civil Rights movement, one of the KKK’s first orders was to infiltrate police departments, “because the laws don’t apply to them if they are the law,” according to Moore.
This echoes an FBI statement in 2006 that white supremacist groups “have historically engaged in strategic efforts to infiltrate and recruit from law enforcement communities.” The federal agency’s concern seems to be selfish, though, as it stated that the hate group’s actions cause “investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources and personnel.”