Accused cop-killer Richard Poplawski spent hours posting racist messages on an extremist right-wing Web site, decrying blacks and Latinos and warning of forthcoming economic collapse fueled by the "Zionist occupation" of America, an expert in political extremism has determined. Earlier, he had praised the "AK" rifle as his ideal weapon.
It was an AK-47 that police say Mr. Poplawski used to gun down three Pittsburgh police officers who arrived at his house Saturday morning in the midst of a domestic dispute.
An account kept on Stormfront, a gathering place for racial extremists and others from the far-right show Mr. Poplawski's increasing belief in a coming economic and political collapse in the days leading up to the time of the deadly standoff in which he is charged with killing three Pittsburgh police officers.
Details of Mr. Poplawski's extreme racial and political views came to light today when the top researcher at the Anti-Defamation League delved into his postings at Stormfront, a white supremacist Web site run by a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Florida.
Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the ADL, said Mr. Poplawski was logged on to Stormfront four hours before Saturday's deadly shooting spree. The ADL today revealed the Poplawski Stormfront account, which was in addition to another one in which he showed photographs of his American eagle tattoo -- a piece of body art that also connected him to the second account in which he expounded on race. Mr. Pitcavage said he explored the Poplawski account after learning of his extremist beliefs in a Sunday article in the Post-Gazette.
The same conclusions linking Mr. Poplawski to the Stormfront site were reached by Jake Bialer, a 20-year-old computer student at Reed College in Portland, Ore. Mr. Bialer previously did computer research for online publications as well as political campaigns.
Writing under the screen name "Rich P," which he switched sometime after March 10 to "Braced for Fate," Mr. Poplawski expounded on race, interracial mixing and the presumed power of Jews in America between Jan. 16, 2007, and last Thursday.
His final post expressed concerns about the changes in the logo of the Keystone State Skinheads, a neo-Nazi skinhead group that has been linked in the past to a variety of crimes.
He also expressed concerns that white nationalist groups had missed an opportunity to call attention to protests in Oakland, Calif., on behalf of young black men accused in the shooting of several police officers there.
Mr. Pitcavage said he unmasked Mr. Poplawski's Stormfront identity by matching details and common links and names with another Stormfront account in which Mr. Poplawski published photographs of his tattoo -- a large eagle spread across his chest, its head poking upward just below the neck. He makes reference to that same tattoo in the second online account. Additionally, the "Braced for Fate" site discusses events that match those in Mr. Poplawski's life, including mention of his fondness for Wellington, Fla, where he had lived during the middle part of this decade.
On March 13, according to the site, Mr. Poplawski wrote a lengthy post predicting economic collapse, engineered by a Jewish conspiracy.
"The federal government, mainstream media, and banking system in these United States are strongly under the influence of -- if not completely controlled by -- Zionist interest," the post declares. "An economic collapse of the financial system is inevitable, bringing with it some degree of civil unrest if not outright balkanization of the continental US, civil/revolutionary/racial war . . . This collapse is likely engineered by the elite Jewish powers that be in order to make for a power and asset grab."
The 923-word post clearly outlines the apocalyptic ideas that Mr. Poplawski's friends earlier attributed to him.
"One can read the list of significant persons in government and in major corporations and see who is pulling the strings. One can observe the policies and final products and should walk away with little doubt there is Zionist occupation and -- after some further research & critical thinking -- will discover their insidious intentions," the post adds.
Earlier this year, Mr. Poplawski's account carried vivid descriptions of after-game revelries when the Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl championship. In keeping with the poster's racial views, he referred to orderly behavior in his neighborhood by "happy whites." In another, he alluded to professional football as "negroball."
Still another post expounded at length about his dislike of African-American, Latina and Asian women.
"Don't mix your blood with dirt, son," he posted.
At one point, advising another poster on ideal weapons, he praised his "AK" -- an AK-47, the kind of weapon police say he used to kill three of their ranks in a deadly standoff Saturday.
Asked Dec. 8 what one weapon he would want if he could keep just one, he wrote, "I guess I'd have to say my AK. Which is nice because it doesn't have to fall from the sky -- its in a case within arms reach."
At one point, Mr. Poplawski also appears to agree with another poster who criticized Alex Jones, host of a conspiracy theorist radio program and author of an Internet site to which Mr. Poplawski's friends said he sometimes turned for news.
The other poster complained that Mr. Jones's site deleted posts alleging Jewish control of the United States.
"My mind hasn't been made up on AJ 100 percent," he wrote.
Mr. Jones, in a telephone interview with the Post-Gazette, denied any extremist views and described himself as "more of a libertarian" than member of the right wing.
He also denounced the violence that took place in Stanton Heights and suggested it reflected growing worries about gun confiscation.
"When the police and the military attempt to come for the guns, which they're going to do, it's not going to go well."
He also complained that his views were being conflated with extremists that recruit people with legitimate concerns reflected on his own site and program.
"It's almost like I wake people up and they just get handed over to the nuts," he said.
Mr. Pitcavage today said Mr. Poplawski's comments bear out a growing concern by extremist-watchers in the wake of the election of President Barack Obama.
"We've been concerned about the possibility of an upsurge in right-wing extremist violence due to two possibilities: the vitriolic reaction of the extreme right to the election of Barack Obama and the severe economic recession that the country is in," he said.