Breaking News
More () »

Muskegon police officer on leave after KKK application found displayed in home

The officer has been placed on leave while the department investigates.

HOLTON, Mich. - A couple touring homes in West Michigan says they've made some unsettling discoveries in the home of a Muskegon Police officer.

Rob and Reyna Mathis say they've been looking for a home for over a month now. They have looked at homes in Sterling Heights, Grand Rapids, Hudsonville and Muskegon.

The couple thought they found the perfect home in Holton, a community north of Muskegon. The house they toured with their realtor is owned by a Muskegon Police officer. Mathis says there were three Confederate flags, two in the garage and one on the dining room table. 

"It was so disturbing to me," Rob Mathis said. 

Mathis, who is black and an Army veteran, shared the experience on a Facebook post—which has been shared more than 1,000 times with more than 900 comments. He confessed to joking to himself that he was walking through a Ku Klux Klan member's home. 

When the couple and their realtor got to the bedroom, they claim to have discovered a Ku Klux Klan application framed on the wall. Mathis says the walk-through was immediately cut short and he and his wife pulled their offer. 

"I said 'oh my God, let's go and get out of here right now,'" Rob Mathis said.

"I was just angry, and my daughter started asking questions and she's only 12," Reyna Mathis added.  

Rob Mathis did not name the officer in the post, however a number of Facebook users did. County tax records show the home belongs to a Charles Anderson, who is currently employed with the Muskegon Police Department.

According Muskegon Director of Public Safety Jeffrey Lewis, Anderson has been placed on administrative leave. Anderson has been on the force for more than 20 years, according to previous reporting. 

In 2009, Anderson fatally shot Julius Johnson, a 23-year-old black man, after Johnson ran from a traffic stop. Anderson testified in court that Johnson wrestled away his radio and baton, beating him in the face with the objects. The officer was treated at the hospital for serious head injuries. 

Johnson's sister, Tunisia Phillips was convicted of lying to police about the shooting. She told investigators she heard her brother beg for his life, but prosecutors determined she did not arrive to the scene until after the shooting. Phillips spent three months in jail. 

The Muskegon County Prosecutor at the time, Tony Tague, ruled the shooting was in self-defense. 

Chief Lewis said inquires to look into the integrity of the post and the accusations against Anderson are both underway. Lewis says it needs to be determined if Anderson has violated any city employment policies. Until then, Anderson will remain on administrative leave. 

"I think that's a step in the right direction, to find out what's going on for this individual," Rob Mathis said.

"I hope for the community, if his intentions aren't good, he does not need to be a police officer," Reyna Mathis added.  "We, and all minorities, are in harms way if that's the case."

13 ON YOUR SIDE was unable to reach Officer Anderson for comment. Those attempts to hear from him included a visit to his home. 

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@13onyourside.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

Before You Leave, Check This Out