A Michigan couple’s search for their dream quickly became a horrific experience after they discovered white supremacist memorabilia during a tour of the home.
Reyna and Robert Mathis, an interracial Hispanic and Black couple, were touring the home of potential seller Charles Anderson, an officer in the Muskegon Police Department. As they walked the halls, they noticed a few items which gave them red flags, one of which was a confederate flag sighting.
“I kept telling myself, ‘It’s not what you think’ and ‘You’re overthinking it,'” Robert said in an interview with NBC News. The couple pieced together that they were in the home of an officer because they noticed a police jacket and a photo of Anderson in his uniform.
But when they came across a framed KKK application, it became to overwhelming to ignore.
“My emotions were all over the place. I felt anger, sadness and shame,” Reyna said. “Our realtor, who is white, even cried. She just kept apologizing.”
“It was just sitting there on that wall as if it was a prized possession of some sort,” she continued.
The imagery was so upsetting that Robert could no longer finish the tour and walked out. Reyna said she weighed with the heartbreaking task of explaining the situation to their 12-year-old daughter who was also on the tour.
After they returned home, Robert said he hesitated on whether or not he would make a statement on social media to reveal their experience. Ultimately, he decided to describe the painful ordeal by writing a long caption under the image of the framed application. Robert, however, did not name the officer in the post.
However, after Anderson was identified in the comments section, the Muskegon Police Department was forced to formally launch an investigation into the matter. According to NBC News, Anderson has been placed on administrative leave during the duration of the probe.
However, the painful ordeal has also created risk for the Mathis family. After the post went viral, the Mathis’ were informed by the local police department of a death threat against them.
Robert, an army veteran, says he fears for his community after his discovery.
“When I saw the Klan application and knew that he was an officer, it brought such a great concern to me because I knew he wouldn’t be effectively doing his job in the community,” Mathis said.
Unfortunately Mathis’s fears regarding Anderson did come to life.
In 2009 Anderson fatally shot a 23-year-old Black male during a police encounter. He was later cleared in the shooting in 2009 after the court ruled that it was an act of self-defense. However MLive reports that the Muskegon County prosecutor’s office will decide whether or not they will reevaluate the case after the Muskegon Police Department finishes its inquiry into the KKK memorabilia.