Detroit Metro Times

This American Life explores troubling story of ex-Muskegon cop who displayed racist document at home

Steve Neavling Jan 24, 2022 11:07 AM
Via Rob Mathis' Facebook page
A framed Ku Klux Klan application form was left displayed in the house of a white Michigan police officer while a Black man was there with a real estate agent.

Public radio’s This American Life launched an in-depth, two-part series over the weekend about the white Muskegon cop who came under fire for displaying KKK memorabilia in his home.

The weekly podcast delved into the controversy and the troubling career of Charles Anderson, who was eventually fired in September 2019.

It all began in August 2019 when a Black couple touring Anderson’s home, which was for sale, spotted Confederate flags and a framed Ku Klux Klan document on display. The potential homebuyer Rob Mathis posted on Facebook what he had discovered at the home, leading to serious questions about the officer.

Dozens of people, many of them Black, came forward to report disturbing past encounters with the cop. It was also revealed that Anderson displayed a Confederate flag on his truck after Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008.

The series, called “A Couple Walks Into a House,” includes interviews with people who had run-ins with Anderson. One of them is a pastor at a small church who worked on an office furniture assembly line. He was at a birthday for his 59-year-old mother when Anderson barged in over a noise complaint. Anderson pepper-sprayed family members and arrested the pastor for assault, a charge that was later dropped, but not before he lost his job.

Despite a pattern of abusive behavior by Anderson, city officials originally sided with the cop and did nothing.

The series explores what happened over the next few months as more troubling details were revealed about Anderson.

Part 2 in the series airs next weekend.

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