MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — New details were released about the incident involving the Muskegon police officer fired after KKK memorabilia was found on the wall of a home he was selling.
The report reveals details about both the officer and the couple who found the items and their prior contacts with this officer.
Former Muskegon police officer Charles Chuck Anderson was fired 10 days ago following an internal affairs investigation into the complaint by citizen Rob Mathis who saw a framed KKK application on a bedroom wall as he and his wife Reyna toured the officer’s home during an open house last month.
Rob Mathis is African American. Reyna Mathis is Hispanic.
The 421-page report includes interviews with Anderson who said the KKK application was part of a large historical collection most of which had been put in storage, although there were no other similar items in the home at the time the Mathis’ toured it.
Anderson told investigators that the Confederate flags on items in the house were part of his devotion to the 1970s television series “Dukes of Hazzard.” He denied any bias.
The Mathises were also interviewed by internal affairs, describing their shock at finding the items.
They both said they had no memory of ever having contact with Anderson previously.
However, police records show multiple encounters between Anderson and the couple responding to drunken domestic disputes.
In July of 2008, Anderson pulled over Rob Mathis for allegedly speeding on Spring Street near Catherine Avenue. The police report claims that they both refused to comply with Anderson’s commands and that Reyna Mathis punched Anderson in the eye.
Reyna Mathis ended up sentenced to 60 days in jail for assaulting a police officer.
She was again arrested and lodged in jail in October of 2008 after she was involved in an alleged drunken assault of a person at the Brews and Cues bar.
The Mathises are in the Detroit area now, no longer looking for a home in the Muskegon area.
“I never did 60 days in jail, it was basically his word against mine, I was defending myself from him and as I was falling to the ground, that’s’ when he was hit,” Reyna Mathis said, adding she only served probation after pleading to resisting arrest. “I haven’t even thought about that since it happened. I did my probation, did what I had to do and didn’t remember that was the officer or nothing.”
They say they had no idea Anderson lived in the home and the previous incident was pure coincidence.
“I didn’t even know until today, until the report came out,” Reyna Mathis said.
Rob Mathis said it was just a coincidence.
“We did not even know it was a police officer’s home,” he said.
They say the incident happened over 11 years ago and they had no desire for retribution.
Asked if he is glad Anderson was fired, Rob Mathis said, “I’m glad for the community.”
He said Anderson’s claim that devotion to “Dukes of Hazzard” explained the Confederate flags in his home does not hold water.
“I was a ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ fan, I loved me some Daisy Dukes, but I don’t have a Confederate flag,” Rob Mathis said.
The report includes Anderson’s multiple commendations and reviews that have him scoring around 4 on a scale of 5 for his performance.
There were also multiple interviews with officers of color who allegedly told investigators that Anderson had never showed any bias they were aware of.
One officer interviewed said Anderson did nothing during his time as an officer but “make the city of Muskegon proud.”
The internal affairs investigators looked at Anderson’s arrests since 2014 noting the race of every person arrested and said they found no patterns of discrimination.
However, the decision was made by Chief Jeffrey Lewis to fire Anderson after he met with community leaders in the community.
The executive summary concludes:
“The Social Justice leaders indicated that they (community) have lost faith, confidence and trust in Officer Anderson. Further, they were direct in stating that Officer Anderson’s actions put the entire department in negative or unfavorable light with the community. If Anderson returns the city would go ‘wild’. Also, Officer Anderson has received national attention through different sources of the media reflecting negatively on him, the police department as it relates to the KKK application and displays of memorabilia that is considered racist by a segment of the population.”