ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Johnny Garcia, the now-former Albuquerque police officer accused of luring a woman into a closet while on duty at the Sunport and sexually assaulting her is now on trial. The ex-cop claims what actually happened in that closet was purely consensual, but prosecutors say otherwise, describing him as a predator.
“This case is about power and how one man abused the power of an APD uniform, a badge, and a gun to take what he felt that he was entitled to,” said prosecutor Crystal Cabrido. On the other hand, Garcia’s attorneys say the alleged victim’s claims are fabricated. “They were friends and they were sometimes flirty with each other, well it went beyond that. They also would spend a lot of time together while they were both working at the airport,” added Garcia’s defense attorney, Nicole Moss.
Monday, everyone agreed Garcia, who patrolled the Sunport, and the alleged victim were friends who, according to both the prosecutors and defense attorneys, would ‘sometimes flirt with each other at work,’ but prosecutors say what Garcia did last February was sexual assault.
“They took an elevator down by the baggage claim area and started chatting, eventually the defendant walks over to a room [and] tries to unlock it unsuccessful he tries another door which does open,” added Cabrido.
Prosecutors say that’s when Garcia lured the Sunport worker inside the dark room and began making sexual advances toward her…before groping her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him. While cameras do not show what happened behind the closed door, Garcia’s attorneys argue the woman was not forced to do anything. “Two consenting adults walked into a closet at the airport and engaged in sexual activity,” said Moss. The defense also claims the woman made up the story because she didn’t want people to know she was having sexual relations with Garcia.
The former APD officer resigned from law enforcement after he was charged and has been in jail since his arrest. Garcia faces up to 13 years if convicted on all charges.