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Muskegon fires veteran police officer, after KKK document was found in his home

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Muskegon City Commission

The city of Muskegon has fired a veteran police officer, after a local couple found a KKK document in the officer’s home. City manager Frank Peterson confirmed the firing, which was first reported by MLive.

The couple toured the home of Officer Charles Anderson with a realtor, and posted photos of the framed KKK document on Facebook.

In August, community members spoke out at a meeting of the Muskegon City Commission, calling for the city to fire Anderson.

“We trust our officers. We believe in our officers. We want to support officers,” said Lowell Kirksey. “But if you’ve got a racist intent, we can’t have you around.”

Anderson is a veteran of the Muskegon police force. He first started with the department in 1997. Employment records obtained by Michigan Radio show that Anderson consistently received positive reviews from his superiors.

In 2009, Anderson shot and killed a man named Julius Johnson. Anderson chased Johnson into an alley, after a traffic stop. Johnson was suspected of having drugs. A review by the Muskegon County prosecutor concluded at the time that Johnson fought with Anderson in the alley, and Anderson acted in self-defense when he shot Johnson.

Anderson was injured badly in the confrontation and received an award from the department the following year for showing “great determination and bravery” during the incident, according to records obtained by Michigan Radio.

The current Muskegon County prosecutor has said the investigation into the shooting of Julius Johnson could be reopened if new evidence emerges.

The city of Muskegon has not yet released the results of its internal investigation into Anderson. Director of Public Safety Jeffrey Lewis says those results could be released in the coming weeks. 

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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