A Muskegon, Michigan police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a family touring his home found several Confederate flags and a framed Klu Klux Klan application hanging up inside.
Rob Mathis and his family were touring the home in Holton as prospective buyers when they stumbled upon the Confederate memorabilia.
After spotting several Confederate flags hanging in the garage, Mathis, who is Black, was still considering putting an offer on their "dream home."
But things took a turn when he got to one of the bedrooms and saw something on the wall that caught his eye.
When he went to get a closer look, he was shocked to find that it was a framed KKK application.
Mathis immediately told his son not to touch anything and walked out of the house.
The owner of the house has since been identified as 20-year police veteran Charles Anderson, who was put on administrative leave after the police became aware of the items.
Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson said an internal investigation is now underway to make sure Anderson can be "fair and impartial" while performing his duties as a police officer.
But for Mathis, the trauma of it all has stuck with him.
"I'm still disgusted by it. I'm hurt," Mathis told MLive.
Muskegon couple describes finding KKK memorabilia during house tour www.youtube.com
"You can't serve your community and be a racist. You can't."
"There're people of all different colors, of all different nationalities out there that you have to serve and protect. You can't just protect one group of people."
He told FOX17:
"As far as an application for, you know, the Klu Klux Klan to be on your wall...you live this life. And, you know, being a police officer, I don't think it's fair to the community that him being an officer is serving the community."
While Anderson's wife insists that he isn't racist and claimed that the application and flags are just historical collectors items, Mathis and his family aren't buying it.
Rena Mathis, Rob Mathis's wife, told WOOD TV8:
"I like antiques, but I collect things that I represent. You can go in my basement, we have Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Michigan stuff, everything we associate ourselves with. So why would you collect something you don't associate with yourself?"
Muskegon officer on leave after KKK item found at home www.youtube.com
Rob Mathis shared a post on Facebook about what happened, which quickly went viral. He felt it was important to spread the word in case Anderson had been involved in questionable incidents with people of color.
And, as it turns out, Anderson had been involved in the fatal 2009 shooting of Julius Johnson, a black parolee. Anderson claimed he fired in self-defense after Johnson climbed on top of him and started punching him.
He was later cleared by Michigan state police of any wrongdoing.
As the news spread over social media, the outrage was palpable, with many calling for Anderson's immediate firing:
A white cop in Michigan is on paid leave after a Black prospective buyer toured his home and found a framed KKK app… https://t.co/kuDFNrw4pW— AJ+ (@AJ+)1565391647.0
@ajplus @MLive I don’t think they handled this correctly. This racist should be fired from the force, and banned fr… https://t.co/SKzMbd9LSW— Juan Pedroza (@Juan Pedroza)1565551919.0
@ajplus @MLive Not sure why they go on paid leave instead of being fired 🤔— Aidey Phillip 💙 #JusticeForOsimeBrown (@Aidey Phillip 💙 #JusticeForOsimeBrown)1565558074.0
The history of hate groups and domestic terrorism is rarely taught, so many people are unaware of the roots of these organizations. To learn more about the KKK, the book The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition is available here.
Mathis hopes the Muskegon Police Department will actually listen to the outrage and fire Anderson, telling FOX17:
"There is no way a person who is racist should police the public. Muskegon is a very diverse community."