Published in Firm News by Kelli Maxwell on May 1, 2024.

April 30, 2024
Written by Lauren Kostiuk
Criminal Defense Attorney Benjamin Jaffe shared his thoughts surrounding former West Lafayette Police Officer Jacob Forgey’s search and probable cause with WTHR’s Lauren Kostiuk. Forgey, 28, is accused of faking a warrant to get into a fraternity house in November 2023 — which sparked a larger review of all of Forgey’s cases.

Former West Lafayette Police Officer Charged with Official Misconduct, Counterfeiting

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Dozens of cases are being thrown out after a review of body camera footage from a former West Lafayette police officer.

Jacob Forgey, 28, of West Lafayette, is now charged with two felonies after an investigation was opened in February.

Special Prosecutor Rodney Cummings charged Forgey with felony counts of official misconduct and counterfeiting.

Forgey is accused of faking a warrant to get into a fraternity house in November 2023. 

According to court documents, Forgey suspected people were smoking marijuana on the house’s balcony.

The former officer admitted to state police that he created a false search warrant.

The incident sparked a larger review of all of Forgey’s cases during his less than two years at the department.

On Tuesday, 13News got a copy of the body camera video from one of those questionable cases.

The video is from a February 2023 incident where Forgey pulled over a 20-year-old woman for speeding.

After pulling over the women, Forgey can be heard questioning himself to dispatch while in his police cruiser.

“I think I smell marijuana, but I’m not sure. I can’t get a return on her. He is just straight-facing,” Forgey is heard saying in the body cam video.

Despite sounding unsure, Forgey returned to the woman’s car and conducted a search.

“Is there marijuana in the vehicle?” Forgey said in the video.

“No there is not,” she responded.

After not finding anything, Forgey gave the woman three different sobriety tests.

“No, not stop until you finish the test. Do you understand?” Forgey said in the video.

According to the police report, Forgey said the woman failed two of the tests. He then arrested her.

Attorney Ben Jaffe reviewed the video and police report for 13News. He said both the search and sobriety tests are questionable.

“In the police report, he’s unequivocal that he smells marijuana, and he bases his search on that smell, but in the video, it’s clear that he is very uncertain about that,” Jaffe said. “If he was in front of a judge and this is a suppression to whether he had probable cause to search and he answered that way, no judge is going to say that it was an appropriate search.”

As for the sobriety tests, Jaffe said the video doesn’t make it clear whether she passed or failed.

“For one, they are discretionary in terms of how they are scored. Oftentimes, you will see people on video, and it looks like they are doing great, but then you look at how they were scored and they took two steps to turn or three. So, it’s very technical about how it’s done,” Jaffe said.

13News spoke with the woman in the video. She said she took a plea deal late last year and has not heard anything about her case being dismissed.

She called the former officer’s actions “shocking.”

West Lafayette Police Chief Troy Harris sent the following statement to 13News:

“Officer Forgey resigned (in Feb) after we discovered actions and policy violations that questioned his integrity and were inconsistent with our department’s values and expectations. Integrity is the cornerstone of the law enforcement profession; without it comes the erosion of public trust, which is why we turned this information over to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor.”

Attorneys John F. Kautzman and Mason Riley, on behalf of Forgey, provided this statement regarding the charges the former officer is facing:

“On the date in question, former Officer Jacob Forgey took law enforcement action in order to stop clear violations of illegal drug use by college students. We believe his actions were not criminal nor undertaken with criminal intent. He has never before faced any criminal allegations. We look forward to a full and fair examination of all the facts.”

Author Photo
Kelli Maxwell

Kelli is the Marketing Director at Eskew Law. Kelli uses her analytical and creative writing skills to engage and connect with clients and assists in developing effective means of communication on personal and professional levels.