Muskegon, MI – A veteran Muskegon police officer was fired on Thursday afternoon following an internal investigation into a piece of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) memorabilia he had on display inside his home.
Muskegon Police Officer Charles Anderson’s employment was terminated during a disciplinary hearing that wrapped up at approximately 3 p.m., Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson told MLive.
Peterson refused to provide further details about what was discussed during the disciplinary hearing, but said that a redacted version of the inquiry into the incident will be released next week.
The investigation into Officer Anderson began approximately one month ago, after Rob Mathis, who is black, toured the officer’s Holton Township home as part of a potential real estate purchase.
During the tour, Mathis spotted an unsigned, vintage KKK application hanging in a frame, and also noticed several Confederate flags throughout the residence, MLive reported.
Mathis subsequently described the items he saw in a Facebook post.
“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,” he declared in the post. “To the officer, I know who you are and I will be looking at resources to expose your prejudice.”
Officer Anderson was placed on administrative leave during the internal investigation, NBC News reported.
Muskegon Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis said that the investigation found no “smoking gun,” but that it raised some “questions” about Officer Anderson, according to MLive.
“I can tell you this, after reviewing this – and it was a quite lengthy investigation – what you saw on social media pretty much stands the way it is,” Chief Lewis said on Aug. 27. “There was no smoking gun revealed to us or anything that shocked us.”
Officer Anderson was a 22-year veteran-of-the-force.
Mathis said that he was “glad the city was moving forward in a positive direction,” but that other officers need to be held accountable for not saying anything about the memorabilia Officer Anderson had in his home, according to MLive.
“There are other officers within the police force that have been to Anderson’s home and were well aware of the Confederate flags,” Mathis alleged. “[Officers who] contributed to that behavior, instead of saying we as a police force are supposed to have good attitudes when making decisions for our community.”
“These KKK applications, flags, they’re not indicative of people who should protect and serve our community,” he opined.
Protesters have demanded that the department review cases involving the now-former officer and people of color, including the 2009 shooting death of Julius Johnson, MLive reported.
Officer Anderson fatally shot Johnson as he was beating the officer in the head with multiple objects, including the officer’s radio.
The officer was beaten so severely, doctors had to place a metal plate in his head to repair the damage, FOX News reported.
Prosecutors later determined that Officer Anderson’s use of deadly force was justified.