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Lafayette police officer terminated for involvement in ‘Neo-Nazi internet chat forum’

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — A Lafayette police officer hired in June was terminated after the department found he had been involved in a “Neo-Nazi internet chat forum” in 2016.

The investigation into Officer Joseph Zacharek, whose age was not provided, began after Lafayette Police Department was mentioned in a tweet Friday night that identified Zacharek as having participated in a chat forum called Iron March in 2016, the department said in a Saturday news release.

The department’s internal affairs division found that the information was “accurate and credible” and that Zacharek’s comments on the forum “were not in harmony with the spirit of cooperation and inclusion in the community that the Lafayette Police Department values,” the release said.

Zacharek had been in training with the police department and had had “no exposure to the public,” the release said.

Full news release:

Late Friday evening the Lafayette Police Department was “tagged” in a tweet on our official Twitter page. It contained information specifically identifying a recruit officer, Joseph Zacharek, as a person who participated in a Neo-Nazi internet chat forum known as Iron March in 2016.

Our Internal Affairs Division opened an immediate investigation to determine if this report was credible. The investigation has determined that Zacharek did participate in this online forum and that the information that was provided to LPD was accurate and credible. Officer Zacharek’s comments were not in harmony with the spirit of cooperation and inclusion in the community that the Lafayette Police Department values.

Officer Zacharek was hired in June of 2020 and to this point has been working solely in a training environment and has no exposure to the public. As a result of this investigation Officer Zacharek’s employment with the Lafayette Police Department has been terminated.

The Lafayette Police Department conducts very thorough and complete background investigations on all potential employees, which includes a complete review of personal social media accounts. While this information may not have been accessible through our investigative processes, we are appreciative that it was brought to our attention. We take great pride in our investigations and are extremely disappointed that we were not able to uncover this information in that process. We endeavor to learn from this investigation to ensure it never happens again.

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