Andre Anderson, Ferguson‘s interim police chief, is facing scrutiny following the reveal of his checkered past.
A report from Voctativ revealed the former Arizona officer and Army veteran was suspended three times in one year during December 1996 and September 1997. He was also accused of beating a woman in 1996. The judge allowed an order of protection for a woman who claimed Anderson hit her in the eye, however it was canceled six weeks after, as authorities didn’t procure enough evidence in the case.
A spokesman for the Ferguson Police Department quickly released a statement regarding Anderson’s past.
Asked for comment on the order of protection, a spokesperson for the Ferguson police told Vocativ, “The allegations regarding Chief Anderson allegedly striking a woman are more than 15 years old, were unfounded…and thus never led to criminal charges being filed.”
His suspensions stemmed from a non-injury accident on the scene, to a police conduct error during his time in the Drug Enforcement Administration in Glendale, Arizona. He was suspended without pay for two days in each incident.
The reason behind his last suspension was not revealed. During the beginning of Anderson’s police career, he worked at the Phoenix Police Department for nine months before calling it quits. He didn’t give a reason for his departure, but went on to work at a furniture store. After returning to his roots at the Tolleson Police Department, a town just west of Phoenix, he transferred to the Glendale Police Department. Despite his multiple violations, Anderson was given glowing reviews, including a 1994 “Officer of the Year” award for his investigative work.
One of the reviews goes into detail about his behavior, pointing out his strengths and weaknesses during his time with the Glendale Police Department:
“Andre during this first rating period it was noted by your supervisors at D.E.A. that you were experiencing significant problems while assigned to the task force,” Sergeant David Donald wrote in a review of Anderson dated December 31, 1996. “These problems led to the initiation of an internal investigation and your transfer back to the department. From the investigation you received a memo of correction and a two day suspension for conducting personal business on city time and falsifying official documents.” Donald did note, however, that “even with the problems you experienced you did an excellent job in your undercover activities.”
Anderson’s questionable record was not addressed publicly when he was named interim police chief of Ferguson in July. Following the Department of Justice’s orders, he told reporters he wanted “to cultivate relationships that we know and hope will reshape our direction in the city of Ferguson.”
Anderson was on the scene in Ferguson Sunday evening when gun shots rang out between police officers and 18-year-old Tyrone Harris. Following the shooting, the interim police chief asked for patience from protesters and demonstrators.
Anderson told reporters in July he would like to enable new tactics and training methods for the police department, like procedural and constitutional justice training, de-escalation training, and “bias awareness training.”