A man has been charged with multiple counts of false informing after making a false accusation against a Valparaiso police officer.
In a statement, Valparaiso Police Chief Jeffrey Balon says that in October of 2020, Valparaiso Police became aware of accusations made by Mr. Caleb Hernandez against VPD Officer Benjamin Teufel. These allegations included that Officer Teufel “did, during a traffic stop, turn off his body worn camera, removed his weapon from its holster, pointed his weapon at Mr. Hernandez, and threatened his life.”
Chief Balon says the department was not apprised of this incident by Hernandez, as they learned of it via a post made to social media. Immediately upon doing so, police initiated an investigation. That same day, investigators located Hernandez and obtained his statement.
Balon says investigators reviewed Officer Teufel’s body camera footage, which showed the interaction in its entirety with no interruptions. Balon says this thereby disproves Hernandez’s initial claims.
Investigators also obtained Officer Teufel’s testimony, as well as surveillance video from a nearby business which corroborated Officer Teufel’s testimony. Balon says that Hernandez was afforded every opportunity, on multiple occasions and dates, to tell the truth of his interaction with Officer Teufel but remained untruthful. Based on the information obtained, all allegations made by Hernandez against Officer Teufel were disproved, and Mr. Hernandez was charged with multiple counts of false informing.
Valparaiso Police Chief Balon says that as a direct result of Mr. Hernandez’s libelous claims, Officer Teufel and his family received “threats of an abominable nature; all of which were received from sources outside Valparaiso and Porter County.”
Balon says one such individual from out of state was investigated and charged with making threats.
Balon also stated “It is my hope that those who came to judgement against Officer Teufel before all of the facts were known, will consider this a teachable moment and learn not to believe everything initially posted on social media.”
The full statement by Chief Balon can be found on the Valparaiso Police Facebook page.