A white Michigan police officer has been relieved of his duties after an African-American couple found some racist memorabilia while on a real estate tour of his home.
Charles Anderson of the Muskegon Police Department came under intense scrutiny after a man named Rob Mathis posted a photo of a framed Ku Klux Klan document he saw in Anderson’s five-bedroom home, sparking huge outrage.
Mathis was house-searching with his wife and kids when they chanced upon the photo, reports NBC News. The family had to immediately cut their walk-through short upon stumbling on the “disturbing” document.
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Officer Anderson was fired after a disciplinary hearing, Muskegon City Manager Fred Peterson told the CNN.
Mathis wrote on his Facebook page, “My wife and I have been house shopping for a little over a month now; searching houses in Sterling Heights, GrandRapids, Hudsonville, and Muskegon.
“Today we were looking at a house in Holton that we both agreed would be perfect, so we meet our realtor to see the house it’s beautiful. As we are walking to the house I’m seeing confederate flags on the walls the dining room table and even the garage. I’m thinking to myself as a joke I’m walking to the imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan‘s house right now.”
Muskegon Fraternal Order of Police had “no comment other than Mr. Anderson is represented by a union and we have faith they will act in his best interest as he moves past this unfortunate situation,” the organization told CNN in a statement on Friday.
Mathis, upon hearing the news of Anderson’s firing, expressed relief, calling it “great news for the community.” Anderson was initially placed on leave following the incident, but a month-long inquiry into whether he’d violated city policy ended with his termination.
Muskegon Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis, commenting on the case, said: “Some questions arose that we’d like to have further answered.”
“But 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. There was no smoking gun revealed to us or anything that shocked us.”
Anderson was cleared of any wrongdoing in the 2009 deadly shooting of an unarmed Black man. He reportedly shot in self-defence after the suspect, Julius Johnson, beat Anderson with his own police radio.
After the news of the racist memorabilia broke, activists called for prosecutors to give the 2009 case another look. Earlier this month, county prosecutor D.J. Hilson said his office was awaiting the results of the city’s inquiry before deciding whether to re-evaluate the deadly shooting.