A Michigan officer who lost his job after a framed Ku Klux Klan application and other Confederate memorabilia were found in his home last month told investigators he had the items because he’s a lover of all things history.
City of Muskegon police officer Charles Anderson was fired last week following a department investigation into claims of potential bias. Redacted documents from the 400-plus page report were released Monday, revealing Anderson’s dubious explanation for having the racist memorabilia.
The framed “application for citizenship” to the KKK, he explained, was an antique he thought was “neat” to have. Anderson, a self-described collector and history buff, also had Confederate-themed items and imagery throughout his home, which he said were an ode to his love for the ’80s TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” according to the report.
“It’s part of our past. It’s our heritage,” Anderson told an investigator when asked about the KKK document. “I mean it occurred, good or bad. It’s a part of history, and I love history and I have thousands of antiques. I could show them to you … I have thousands.”
Anderson, 48, found himself embroiled in controversy after local resident Rob Mathis took a real estate tour of the officer’s home when he and his wife stumbled upon the offensive items. The KKK application was framed and hanging in one of the bedrooms.
Mathis, who’s Black, posted about the incident on Facebook, writing: “I feel sick to my stomach knowing I walked to the home of one of the most racist people in Muskegon hiding behind his uniform.”
The former officer denies he’s racist, however. In the department’s lengthy report, Anderson acknowledged owning the memorabilia, including a few Confederate flags and a Confederate place mat. The document also included transcripts of interviews with the embattled officer, in which he detailed his extensive “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show memorabilia collection.
“I have a very, very large collection of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard.’ I have gone to their meets. They call it a Duke’s Fest,” Anderson, 48, explained when asked about his controversial home decor. “It’s where you go down south and you meet in a state and all ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ fans get together.”
He went on to describe the Comic-con-like event and said he once owned a car that was mocked up like the famous “General Lee” from the TV show.
“It was a 4 wheel drive and I just used it for play so I have all their videos,” Anderson added. “I love the Dukes of Hazzard and that’s the reason for the Confederate flags. They mean nothing other than it was just part of that collection.”
When asked flat out if he’d ever been affiliated with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, he replied “no” and noted that his Catholic faith would’ve been grounds for rejection by the notorious hate group.
“Anderson advised that he considers himself to be a member of the community who is strongly against the Ku Klux Klan and what that organization stands for,” the report states.