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Residents to push for more action after KKK item found in Muskegon police officer's home

A police car seen through the side mirror on a car.
Craig Finlay
Creative Commons
Residents in Muskegon plan to show up at a city commission meeting on Tuesday.

A group in Muskegon is planning to show up at a city commission meeting on Tuesday to demand accountability after an old KKK document was found in the home of a Muskegon police officer.

The document was spotted by a couple who was interested in buying the home. They shared pictures on Facebook. The city suspended the officer while it investigates.

Ebony Davis is organizing a group of residents to speak out about the issue at the city commission meeting.

“We’re going to show up to let them know we’re demanding this officer be looked at beyond the policies,” Davis says. “Because if you have that kind of hatred in your heart, there’s no way you should be patrolling such a diverse city such as Muskegon.”

In a statement posted last week, the city said officer Charles Anderson was “immediately placed on administrative leave” after the city was made aware of the document.

Rob Mathis and his wife posted a photo of the document on his Facebook account last week. The photo shows a yellowed “application for citizenship” for the KKK which was never filled out.

Mathis says he and his wife also saw Confederate flags in the home.

The officer, Charles Anderson, has not spoken publicly about the investigation. His wife told WOOD TV in Grand Rapids that the family was advised not to talk about it while the investigation is ongoing.

Can’t say anything right now, Rachael Anderson told WOOD. “Wish we could because it would probably set a lot of things straight.”

She said that Anderson is not a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Anderson is a veteran of the Muskegon police force.

In 2009, he shot and killed a black man named Julius Johnson. The county prosecutor cleared Anderson at the time, saying he shot Johnson in self defense.

Now, Davis and others in the community want that case reopened. The current county prosecutor told MLive over the weekend that the case could be reopened if new evidence emerges.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.