In 2000, he shot to death an unarmed black man
By Frederick H. Lowe
Black ministers in Muskegon, Michigan, where Charles Anderson, one of the city’s police officers was fired, for having a framed Klu Klux Klan application on the wall of his home, told investigators they wondered how many more police officers sympathized with the KKK, a white terrorist organization known for murdering black men.
“Because of the incident, many in the community question how many other officers have this perceived mindset or attitude, if any, like Anderson,” the 421-page report said. “The mere possession of the application and the Confederate flag related items has caused many to look unfavorably on the whole police department, not just Anderson.”
The ministers believed Anderson’s attitude exemplified a police culture that police officers supported and condoned, the report said.
And if city officials did not fire Anderson, it would create a greater gap between the African American community and police department that would be impossible to close, the report said.
Police interviewed three Baptist ministers whose general comments were published in the report. The report redacted their names and the names of their churches.
On September 12, the police department fired Anderson, a patrol officer, after a black couple saw the KKK application inside the home and Confederate flags both inside the home and the garage during an open house.
Robert Mathis, his wife, Ryna, their children and an unnamed real estate agent toured the house because the couple was looking to buy a bigger place with more land.
Mathis, an Army veteran, posted what they saw on August 7th on Facebook sparking an investigation leading to Anderson’s suspension and eventual firing.
As the family was walking through the home, Mathis’ children told their father that it belonged to a cop. He ordered them not to touch anything. The family quickly left.
He posted on Facebook what they had seen. He did not name the home’s owner, but others who read the Facebook posting identified Anderson as its owner and a cop.
The report contains an interview with Anderson, who has been an officer with Muskegon police department for 21 years and nine and half months. During the interview, Anderson denied he is a member of the KKK or has been influenced by the Klan.
He claimed he is a collector American history items and that he purchased the KKK application as part of his history collection. He denied he is racist.
Anderson has been involved two shootings in Muskegon, including the deadly shooting of Julius Allen Ray Johnson in 2000. The 23 year-old was a passenger in a car that Anderson stopped for a traffic violation.
It is not known whether the shooting will be reopened because of the items found in Anderson’s home.
The report also published interviews with Mathis and his wife Reyna. The couple said they were horrified to see the Confederate flags and the framed KKK application.
The report concluded that Anderson had defamed the department.
“Officer Anderson has received national attention through different sources of the media reflecting negatively on him, the police department as it relates to the KKK application and displays of memorabilia that are considered racist to a segment of the population,” wrote Jeffrey A. Lewis, Muskegon Director of Public Safety.