Probe of Michigan officer's KKK item could lead to review of fatal shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
A Michigan police department has opened an investigation of one of its officers after a potential homebuyer reported seeing items associated with white supremacy at the officer's home.
Police in Muskegon, Michigan, launched an internal investigation of officer Charles Anderson last week after the would-be homebuyer, who is black, said he discovered a Confederate flag display and a framed Ku Klux Klan application during a tour of the home.
The Muskegon Police Department said it placed Anderson on paid administrative leave on Thursday.
"The Muskegon Police Department has opened an internal investigation after a social media post was brought to our attention accusing an officer of being in possession of certain items associated with a white supremacy group," the police department said in a statement Thursday.
"The City of Muskegon requests your patience as we thoroughly investigate this issue. Further information will be available upon completion of the investigation," the statement added.
Rob Mathis, the man who allegedly found the items, posted images of the discovery on Facebook and vowed to "expose" the officer's "prejudice."
"I immediately stopped my walk-through and informed the Realtor that I am not writing an offer on this home and I am leaving now," he wrote, noting that he was sickened by the display. "To the officer, I know who you are and I will be looking at resources to expose your prejudice."
Mathis did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.
The incident could lead to further review of a 2009 fatal shooting involving Anderson, who is white, and a black man, local news outlet MLive.com reported, citing the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office.
The results of the internal investigation into Anderson could play a role in whether prosecutors will look at the 2009 case, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson told MLive.
Hilson did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.
When reached at his home, the officer said: “They said not to talk about it. That’s what they told me. Because it’s under internal investigation they said not to make a statement,” according to MLive.com.
Officer Anderson could not be reached for comment by ABC News.
Anderson was cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Julius Johnson in September 2009. Anderson, who said he was injured in a scuffle with Johnson following a traffic stop, claimed he feared for his life when he fired the fatal shot, according to the legal opinion from the prosecutor, obtained by MLive, explaining why Anderson was justified in fatally shooting Johnson. The prosecutor at the time, Tony Tague, is no longer with the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office.
Anderson suffered broken facial bones as a result of the incident. The prosecutor determined that “without intervention, a continued assault could have resulted in the death of the officer,” according to the documents obtained by MLive.
"There is absolutely no doubt that the officer feared for his life, had in fact suffered great bodily harm at the hands of the decedent Johnson and was left with no alternative but to use deadly force to protect his life," the document stated.