PLAINFIELD, Ind. — A former Plainfield police officer is accused of official misconduct after investigators say he plotted to make false accusations against a fellow officer and smear his reputation in order to prevent that officer from getting a promotion. As a result of the accusations against the Plainfield officer, the Hendricks County prosecutor is immediately dismissing 79 pending cases and reviewing 24 felony cases in which then-officer Valentin Khazin was involved.
The Hendricks County prosecutor filed charges against Khazin Friday, accusing him of official misconduct, a felony, and false informing, a misdemeanor. Thursday, 13 Investigates broke the news of Khazin’s resignation. The police department said that happened shortly after the police chief “initiated disciplinary actions.”
In the probable cause affidavit filed Sept. 1, investigators say Khazin tried to convince a gas station attendant to create three fake letters accusing another Plainfield officer of “verbal, physical, and sexual abuse against children in the Plainfield Community School system.” That officer is currently assigned to work as a school resource officer.
The investigators also wrote that Khazin’s motivation “was to ‘tarnish’ (the other officer’s) character. This would in turn reduce the chances of (that officer) getting promoted to Lieutenant, a position Khazin was attempting to obtain.”
As a result of this investigation, more than 100 cases are being dismissed or reviewed.
13 Investigates reviewed an email from the Hendricks County prosecutor to the county’s public defender’s office saying prosecutors are dismissing 69 misdemeanor cases and 10 infraction cases in which Khazin was the lead detective. The prosecutor’s office is also starting a review of 24 cases involving felony charges in which Khazin may have played a role. The letter states the prosecutor’s office is reviewing Khazin’s level of involvement in those cases and if they can move forward without Khazin’s testimony.
In June, Plainfield Police asked Indiana State Police to investigate Khazin, after they received a report from the gas station worker who said that an officer was trying to convince him to make false accusations against another officer. The gas station employee said Khazin said that in exchange for the favor, he would “benefit in the future with an unspecified, eventual quid pro quo.”
The gas station attendant, Paul Luecke, told investigators Khazin asked him to use an artificial intelligence program to create three anonymous letters accusing the other officer of abusing children. Then, the attendant says, Khazin told him to find an apartment complex without surveillance cameras and mail the letters from there to the police department, the Plainfield school board, and the Plainfield town council.
"It can be easy to make the wrong choice sometimes. It can make everything go away. But if it compromises your morals, if it compromises your integrity, then you shouldn't do it. You must do the right thing," said Luecke. "If he's willing to do this to another cop, what is he willing to do to somebody else?"
State police detectives set up surveillance at the gas station and recorded another meeting between Khazin and the station worker. They gave the station worker three letters that an ISP detective created. Court documents say video shows the worker giving Khazin the three notes, shows him reading them and saying, “Yeah.”
"He looked down at it, and he turned his head, and he gave me two thumbs up, and he said, 'That'll work,'" Luecke said.
During the meeting, Khazin apparently spotted the recording device the station attendant was wearing and asked him what was on his shirt. Investigators wrote, “Officer Khazin can then be heard saying, ‘Excuse me for being paranoid. Do you understand that. I don’t want to look like a weirdo to you. I think you’re awesome, man. Everything you do is awesome.’”
When State Police officers interviewed Khazin about a week later, court documents report Khazin initially denied having seen the letters before. When investigators showed Khazin the gas station’s surveillance video of him looking at the letter, court documents say he told investigators he did not actually read the letter. When investigators showed Khazin the audio and video that the gas station attendant recorded, court documents say Khazin ended the interview.
Before the interview ended, the affidavit reports that Khazin told investigators he and the other officer had a “contentious relationship” after a disagreement at the scene of an incident about a year and a half earlier.
"Unfortunate that some people that probably committed crimes are going to be let go, but I am thankful that we live in a justice system that is going to give these people the fair due process that they deserve in court," said Luecke.
Todd Sallee is a local defense attorney who is now checking to see if Khazin was involved with any of his cases.
"We need to go back, and we need to audit prior cases that we may have resolved where he was lead officer," Sallee said.
The Plainfield Police Department hired Khazin in March 2020. WTHR has not yet been able to reach Khazin for his reaction to the charge against him.
A court date has not yet been scheduled for Khazin’s initial hearing.