Indiana officer fired after ties to neo-Nazi internet forum are revealed
A police recruit in Lafayette, Indiana, was fired after an anti-fascist flagged his apparent ties to a neo-Nazi internet forum, authorities said Saturday.
The recruit, Joseph Zacharek, is believed to have participated in a forum called “Iron March” four years ago, Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said in a statement.
The department was alerted to Zacharek’s posts on Friday, when a self-described anti-fascist tagged its Twitter account with a link to messages from the forum that were posted on a site called “ironmarch exposed.”
The department opened an investigation and determined that the messages were accurate and credible, the statement said.
“Officer Zacharek’s comments were not in harmony with the spirit of cooperation and inclusion in the community that the Lafayette Police Department values,” Flannelly said.
Zacharek was hired by the department earlier this year and had "no exposure" to the public, Flannelly said. The statement added that it had conducted a background check on Zacharek but hadn't found any connections to the forum during that process.
"We endeavor to learn from this investigation to ensure it never happens again," Flannelly said.
Efforts to reach Zacharek on Sunday were unsuccessful. The Indiana Fraternal Order of Police did not respond to a request for comment.
In the messages, a person identified as Zacharek posted under the handle “Panzerleiter,” an apparent reference to the German tanks used in World War II.
In one message, he described himself as a 23-year-old former tank crewman in the U.S. Army and “garden variety conservative libertarian” who ...
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