Robert and Rayna Mathis were looking to buy a new home when their real estate agent took them to Charles Anderson’s five-bedroom home. During the tour, the African American couple saw a framed KKK application hanging on a wall in one of the rooms. They also noted several Confederate flags in different parts of the house.
Knowing that Anderson was a police officer, Robert took to Facebook and posted about the discovery. "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 wrote.
The post quickly gained support from members of the community, prompting the City of Muskegon to respond. In a Facebook post, it was revealed that Anderson “was immediately placed on administrative leave, pending a thorough investigation." On Sept. 12, 2019, Anderson was fired from the Muskegon Police Department.
On Sept. 23, a 421 page report was released by the City of Muskegon, detailing the findings of the investigation. The report featured interviews conducted during the investigation. According to one interview, Anderson explained to investigators that the KKK membership application was from the 1920s, and that it was in a room he used to store his extensive antique collection.
He stated that the application form was blank, and that he had purchased it in Indiana six years prior. When asked about the flags, he explained that he was a great fan of the Dukes of Hazard TV show, and the flags were part of the memorabilia he collected.
He also explained that he had removed most of his antique collection from the room, but forgot about the application form hanging on the wall. He told the investigator; "If they had asked me I would've been more than happy to explain. I would've apologized, advised that I meant no harm by it and I would explain that it is from the 1920's, it's dated. It's not filled out. It has no one's name on it and it was part of history and that's ... I mean ... it was a mistake.”
He added, “It's our heritage. I mean it occurred, good or bad and it's part of history and I love history and I have thousands of antiques and I could show them to you, I have thousands.”
Rachel Anderson, his wife, spoke to WOOD, and explained that her husband was not a member of the KKK. When asked whether he was available for an interview, she said, "No, he's not, no, no. He can't say anything right now. I wish we could because it would probably set a lot of things straight.”