A Michigan police officer is under investigation after racist memorabilia was allegedly discovered inside his residence.
According to MLive, the Muskegon Police Department launched the internal probe after Robert Mathis reported seeing a framed KKK application and a Confederate flag displayed in the home of Charles Anderson, a 20-year veteran of the force. Mathis, an African American, claims he saw the items while he and his family toured the property, which was up for sale.
"I was just so disgusted," Mathis said to the outlet. "I told my son, 'Let’s go, we’re getting out of here. This is a Klan house, really, we have to go right now.' It was basically telling me, whites only to purchase his house. People who have that type of hate in their heart, he wanted those people."
Mathis reported his findings in a since-deleted Facebook post. The Muskegon Police Department confirmed Anderson was placed on paid administrative leave after Mathis' findings came to light. As pointed out by MLive, the department does not specifically prohibit officers from possessing racist memorabilia, but its manual does require officers to "perform all duties impartially, without favor or affection or ill will and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration." The discovery of KKK application and Confederate flag has, of course, raised questions about Anderson's ability to fulfill these duties.
"The emotional health and safety of this community is what is most important to me," Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis said about the investigation. "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."
Anderson was placed under investigation about a decade ago, when he fatally shot a 23-year-old unarmed black man during a traffic stop. The victim, Julius Johnson, reportedly fled from Anderson during a traffic stop and a scuffle ensued. Johnson's sister told authorities she had heard her brother beg for his life moments before Anderson opened fire, but prosecutors ultimately determined she was too far from the scene to hear her brother's alleged pleas. The Chicago Tribune reports she was charged with lying to police and sentenced to three months in jail.