A police recruit in Lafayette, Indiana, was fired after an anti-fascist signaled his apparent links to a neo-Nazi Internet forum, authorities said Saturday.
Recruited Joseph Zaharek is believed to have participated in a forum called the Iron March four years ago, Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelli said in a statement.
The department was warned of Zaharek’s posts on Friday when the self-described anti-fascist tagged his Twitter account with a link to forum posts posted on a site called the “Iron March Exposed.”
The department launched an investigation and found that the reports were accurate and credible, the statement said.
Zaharek was hired by the department earlier this year and was not “exposed” to the public, Flannelli said. The statement added that he had checked Zaharek’s condition but found no links to the forum during the trial.
“We are working to learn from this investigation to ensure that it never happens again,” Flannelli said.
Efforts to reach Zaharek on Sunday were unsuccessful. The Indiana Fraternal Police did not respond to a request for comment.
In the reports, a man identified as Zaharek published under the handle of the Panzerleiter an obvious reference to German tanks used during World War II.
In one message, he described himself as a 23-year-old former U.S. Army tank crew member and “conservative garden variety libertarian” who opened a message board on 4chan and became “completely NatSoc” – a reference to National Socialism. “
He said he joined the forum because he wanted to participate in “a higher level fascist discourse” than was available on 4chan.
In a statement on an ethno-state, he said that a state that allows “white immigration by denying all smaller races” is the most ideal and lasting solution. ” In another, he proposes anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes.
An investigation published last year by the Center for Investigative Journalists found that hundreds of active and retired law enforcement officials across the United States were involved in extremist groups, including what he describes as dozens of private hate groups working on Facebook. .
Reporters joined many of the groups and checked the identities of 400 officers, including one who was in a group called the NAACP Ban and another who was in The White Privilege Club.
The 2015 FBI Classified Counter-Terrorism Guide, obtained by Intercept, found that white leaders and other right-wing extremists maintained an “active presence” in U.S. law enforcement agencies.
An earlier FBI assessment said the groups had a “historic” interest in infiltrating the agencies.