It is not safe for anyone out there anymore. Even other police officers are being abused at the hands of the law. Perhaps this will be the wake-up call that everyone needs that the situation, as it stands, is untenable, unsustainable, and unjust.
Sgt. Jose Garcia was arrested in Wisconsin for “inappropriately touching” a 15-year-old girl. The girl was a family friend. Garcia said he was only horsing around in a water park pool with her and five other children, four of whom were his own.
The incident occurred in 2016. By 2018, Wisconsin prosecutors had dropped the sexual assault charges against Garcia, saying that they would be “unable to prove” the charges against him. Garcia’s records were expunged and sealed from the public.
Garcia believed that the investigation was so skewed that it constituted a civil rights violation. He has now filed a lawsuit against two Wisconsin officers and the department itself. He is seeking reimbursement for lost wages and the cost of his defense. Garcia believes that there needs to be accountability for the harm done to him and his family.
Garcia Goes to Desk Work
Garcia was placed on administrative duty while officers from both Wisconsin and Chicago investigated the situation. The internal affairs division of the Chicago police department announced that they only recently received records from Wisconsin prosecutors related to Garcia’s prosecution. Chicago’s IA determined that the accusations were unfounded. Garcia’s badge has since been returned.
If convicted, Garcia could have faced up to 80 years in prison. Once the charges were filed, Garcia was prevented from being around children other than his own. He had to quit teaching religious education classes and coaching his daughter’s volleyball team. He could not attend his son’s boy scout activities. He was prevented from attending family events where other children would be present.
Garcia was taking turns tossing children into the water when the girl said he touched her inappropriately through her bathing suit. Later, the girl told police that Garcia had touched her twice. Once, he touched her in front of a lifeguard for two minutes. When police suggested she correct herself to two seconds, the girl insisted she was touched in front of a lifeguard for two minutes. The park’s surveillance video rebuffed that account.
The lawsuit filed by Garcia alleges that Wisconsin police failed to talk to lifeguards at the pool until 18 months after the incident. By then it was impossible to figure out who was on duty.
In 2018, the case went to trial. A mistrial was declared during opening statements when the prosecutor mentioned that the girl had a learning disability. This was an attempt to explain the discrepancies in her account, but the information was never provided to Garcia’s attorneys. Six months later, the charges were dropped entirely.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of something you know you did not do, call Chicago criminal defense lawyer David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.