A Michigan cop may soon be out of a job after a prospective homebuyer, who is black, found Confederate flags and a framed Ku Klux Klan application while touring the man’s home.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Muskegon resident Rob Mathis described walking with his family into local police officer Charles Anderson’s home for a tour. Despite him and his wife feeling at first that Anderson’s home “would be perfect” for them, that sentiment quickly changed.
First they observed Confederate flags “on the walls, the dining room table and even the garage.” And then, much to their horror, they ran smack-dab into a framed KKK application.
“In the bedroom, right across to the next wall, there was a plaque up there all by itself,” Mathis later revealed in an interview with Grand Rapids station WXMI.
He continued, “So I being just nosey and walked over there and looked at it, and it was an application for the KKK. I said, ‘oh no.’ I told my son don’t touch nothing.”
He then walked out and waited for his wife.
“So I’m outside and I’m trying to calm myself down, because I done touched these doorknobs. You know, I’m just sickened by just being in this house,” he said.
Take a listen below:
“Far as an application for, you know, [the] KKK to be on your wall, you live this life, you know? And then a police officer, I don’t think it’s fair for the community him being an officer and serving the community,” he added.
As a result of Mathis and his family’s finding, Anderson was reportedly placed on administrative leave last week based on the allegations of him “having items associated with a white supremacy group.”
When questioned by WXMI over why he owns such items, he said he couldn’t provide his side of the story because the department is still investigating the matter.
Mathis personally believes Anderson owns the items because he’s a racist.
“I think he should lose his job,” he said. “There is no way a person who is racist should police the public. Muskegon is a very diverse community.”
But while Mathis automatically linked the items to racism, there is a possibly that Anderson may simply be a history buff.
City manager Frank Peterson did confirm with WXMI that Anderson’s been on the local force for 20 years and that he underwent rigorous testing to obtain a spot.
“Peterson said the department puts all recruits through a lengthy background check and performs physiological testing before hiring. He couldn’t clarify what measures the department used before hiring Anderson because it happened well before he started,” the station reported.
The only other thing known about Anderson is that he justifiably killed a black suspect during an altercation that happened 10 years ago.
“A Muskegon police officer who fatally shot a 23-year-old man was being severely beaten about the head and feared for his life when he pulled the trigger, according to Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague,” The Muskegon Chronicle reported in December 2009, three months after the altercation occurred.
The report continued, “Tague cleared Officer Charles Anderson, 38, of any wrongdoing in the Sept. 23 death of Julius Ray Johnson of Muskegon with the release Thursday of a 12-page legal opinion. The investigation of the shooting was conducted by the Michigan State Police.”
Some on the left have seized on this altercation, arguing that Johnson’s otherwise justified shooting clearly showcases Anderson’s alleged racism:
Not just any cop. On September 23, 2009, during a routine traffic stop, officer Charles Anderson shot and killed Julius Johnson, 23-year-old black man. https://t.co/AwfIceudUy
— Brooks Sherman (@byobrooks) August 9, 2019
During a subsequent investigation, Officer Anderson claimed he had shot in self defense. But: “Johnson’s sister, Tunisia Phillips, initially told investigators that she heard her brother beg for his life before Anderson shot him….” https://t.co/5s0kmp06Tk
— Brooks Sherman (@byobrooks) August 9, 2019
I’m so damn tired. Maybe this is just that proverbial straw, but I was reading this and didn’t even realize I was crying until I tasted the salt on my lips. I’m so damn tired. It just cost too damn much to be black in this country.
— Angela Crook Black Lady Writer (@navah74) August 9, 2019
Another racist murderer who will never be charged because he’s a cop. They are literally placed above the law.
— Jason A. Quest ✏️? is unverífied (@jasonaquest) August 10, 2019
State sanctioned murder. Period.
— Dorinda Medley stan account (@gewoonthari) August 10, 2019
But this is a false narrative not rooted at all in the actual facts. According to The Muskegon Chronicle, the incident began with a simple traffic stop but devolved into something far worse as Johnson fled the scene and then attacked Anderson.
“Anderson, a 12-year-veteran, suffered critical head injuries during a struggle with Johnson that followed a foot chase. The officer was beaten with his police radio and another ‘blunt object,’ according to material presented by Tague,” the outlet noted in 2009. “The fractures and lacerations Anderson sustained were ‘consistent with numerous severe blows to the head,’ Tague said, adding that the officer has been left with a metal plate in his head.”
Could this shooting have been rooted in racism? No. Could Anderson’s possession of a KKK application be rooted in racism? Yes, it’s a possibility — though a yet-unproven one.
The best bet for all parties in this case, including Mathis, would be to wait for the Muskegon Police Department to finish its investigation.
Muskegon Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis has for his part confirmed to local media that he takes the investigation very seriously.
“The emotional health and safety of this community is what is most important to me,” he said. “We have a strong base here (at the department and the city) that wants to deal with this head on. Our city and county, frankly, are very serious about this.”
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