Cleveland, Ohio, April 6, 2009 … Richard Poplawski, the man charged with killing three Pittsburgh police officers during a standoff over the weekend, held virulently anti-Semitic and racist beliefs that he openly shared with others on white supremacist online discussion forums, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"This was a troubled young man who was deeply infected with anti-Semitism and racism and who bought into conspiracy theories about Jews and other racial minorities and the government," said Shari Kochman, ADL Allegheny Regional Director, based in Cleveland. "He was able to obtain confirmation of his views by sharing them with like-minded white supremacist sites and joining their online community of haters."
ADL's Center on Extremism, which monitors anti-Semitic and racist groups, said Poplawski's increasingly conspiracy-oriented postings expressed his belief that Jews controlled the U.S. government and his conviction that some sort of collapse of the economic and social order of the U.S. was inevitable.
On its Web site, the League has posted details of Poplawski's anti-Semitic and racist posts to extremist Web sites, including Stormfront, the world's largest online neo-Nazi discussion forum. In his posts, Poplawski exhibited rage against racial minorities, Jews, the government and police. According to ADL, Poplawski also frequented "Infowars," the Web site of the right-wing conspiracy radio talk-show host Alex Jones, where he shared links to its stories with others and sometimes posted his own messages to the site.
"White supremacists frequently lash out violently against ethnic, racial and religious minorities, but far too often police are targets of these hateful extremists as well," said Ms. Kochman. "Once again, this shooting underlines the danger of Internet hate sites, whose messages can provide solace to potentially violent individuals and even prompt a lone-wolf perpetrator into action. The shocking murders of Officers Sciullo, Mayhle and Kelly are a terrible reminder of what can happen when extremists decide to violently act out their bigotry."
More information on Stormfront and other white supremacist groups and trends are available on the League's Web site at www.adl.org/learn.