Oklahoma police officer found guilty of rape
Former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw cries after being found guilty of sexually assaulting 13 women, as lawyers representing the victims say they’re not pleased about the several counts that weren’t received.
Oklahoma City: Two of the women sexually assaulted by a former Oklahoma City policeman said on Friday they feared for their lives after the officer threatened them with arrest and violence if they did not perform sexual acts on him.
Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, was found guilty by a jury on Thursday of 18 of the 36 counts against him that included rape and sexual assaults of 13 women.
He broke down in tears as the verdict was read and said, “I didn’t do it,” as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He faces life in prison.
Jannie Ligons, left, one of the victims of sexual assault by former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, smiles as attorney Benjamin Crump holds up her arm during a news conference. Photo: AP
“All I could think of was he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me,” Janie Liggons, one of the victims, told a news conference. She was pulled over by Holtzclaw and threatened.
“I kept pleading, ‘Don’t make me do this, sir. Are you going to shoot me?’ I was so afraid, so helpless.”
Five of the victims plan to sue the city over the incidents, an attorney told the news conference on Friday.
Daniel Holtzclaw, right, was convicted of raping eight women on his police beat in a minority, low-income neighbourhood. Photo: AP
Liggons was the first to report Holtzclaw to authorities, who then launched an investigation and found a dozen other women, all African-American, who said they were sexually assaulted by Holtzclaw, who is mixed race Asian and white.
Holtzclaw was fired by the police over the accusations in January 2015 after approximately three years on the job.
Liggons said she was different from other victims in that she did not have any outstanding warrants or convictions against her. Prosecutors said Holtzclaw preyed on women who had trouble with the law, thinking that their word would not stand up against his, adding he became more brazen with each attack.
Ex-police officer Daniel Holtzclaw puts his head on the table and cries as the guilty verdicts are read in his trial in Oklahoma City. Photo: AP
“He just picked the wrong lady to stop that night,” she said.
Another victim, Shardarion Hill, said she went into survival mode with Holtzclaw and was forced into doing what the man with the badge and gun wanted.
The defence attacked the credibility of the women who testified against Holtzclaw, saying they were dishonest.
Supporters of the victims of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw pray after the verdicts were read for the charges against him at the Oklahoma County Courthouse. Photo: AP
“Society tends not to believe black women or value them as other women are,” said Artist for Justice founder Grace Franklin, who stood in support of the 13 women.
The Oklahoma City Police Department backed the detectives who investigated Holtzclaw and the jury that convicted him.
“We are satisfied with the jury’s decision and firmly believe justice was served,” it said in a statement.
Holtzclaw faces a sentencing hearing on January 21.