A Michigan policeman is suspended pending a department investigation into why he has Ku Klux Klan memorabilia inside his home, including a framed application to the white supremacist group.
Muskegon officer Charles Anderson was placed on indefinite administrative leave this week after the department said it said it was alerted to the items, Detroit station WDIV reported. The offensive mementos were discovered by an African-American couple who toured Anderson’s home, which is up for sale.
Robert Mathis said he and his wife thought the Holton-area residence was “beautiful” and would be “perfect” for them — but quickly changed their minds.
“I’m seeing confederate flags on the walls the dining room table and even the garage,” Mathis wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m thinking to myself as a joke, ‘I’m walking to the imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan‘s house right now.’ 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!”
The Michigan man said they immediately ended their walk through of the home and informed the realtor they wouldn’t be making an offer, then left.
“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,” Mathis added.
Muskegon Police addressed the incident in a statement Thursday, saying and internal investigation has been launched and that the cop in question was immediately placed on administrative leave. The department also urged patience “as we thoroughly investigate this issue.”
“Further information will be available upon completion of the investigation,” it added.
When contacted by WOOD-TV at his home, Anderson’s wife, Rachael, said they were advised not to speak on the matter until the investigation was finished.
“He can’t say anything right now, I wish we could because it would probably set a lot of things straight,” she said, later denying that her husband is a member of the Klan.
According to MLive, the Mathises were told that the homeowner was an avid collector of antiques like those found inside the home, but the couple was convinced Anderson knew exactly what he was doing by leaving the offensive displays up.
“He didn’t know if blacks or whites or whoever was walking in there, but he left it there proudly,” Mathis’ wife, Reyna, told the outlet.
“I was just angry, and my daughter started asking questions and she’s only 12,” she added.
Muskegon County NAACP’s President Eric Hood also weighed in on the matter and pointed to Anderson’s involvement in the fatal shooting of an African-American man in 2009. The officer was cleared in that incident, but Hood calls this latest discovery “concerning.”
“Why would he leave it up knowing that his house was showing to be sold?” he asked.
The local leader is now calling for “a thorough investigation to be sure that when he goes out there and puts on that uniform and performs his duties as an officer that he’s being fair and impartial.”
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