Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw has been sentenced to 263 years in prison. It’s a particularly harsh sentence, but it fits his brutal crimes.
As a police officer, Holtzclaw had a duty to uphold the law. Instead, he violently abused his power.
Holtzclaw would pull women over, force them to remove their clothing under the guise of “searching” them, and have them perform oral sex on him in the back of his police car – all while other cars drove by.
Because their attacker was a police officer, none of the women felt that they could report the abuse – until one victim, 58-year-old Jannie Ligons, was encouraged by her family to come forward to the police.
Once notified of Holtzclaws’ attack on Ligons, police investigators insisted he turn in his badge, gun and uniform.
Then they discovered female DNA on the inside of Holtzclaw’s pants – but it didn’t belong to Ligons.
Alerted to the possibility that other women may also have been Holtzclaw’s victims, investigators combed through boxes of records, trying to find other women he’d pulled over.
At the point when they identified six other victims, it became clear that Holtzclaw was a serial rapist.
It transpired that Holtzclaw didn’t pull women over at random – rather, he ran extensive background checks on them first to ensure his leverage over them.
Watch: How the news reacted to the sentencing. Post continues after video.
“He would check their background first, and if it was convictions, drug use, prostitution, then he would target them. He would say, ‘Well, I need to search you. I need to make sure you don’t have—’ and it would kind of start from there,” Detective Davis from the Oklahoma City Police said.
“They’re the perfect victim. Nobody’s going to believe them. If you believe them, who cares?
“‘A prostitute can’t be raped.’ Yes, they can. Yes, they can. So that’s why he was picking these kind of women, because that’s the perfect victim.”
By the time the case went to trial, Holtzclaw was charged with sexually assaulting thirteen women. He was convicted by a jury on 18 of 36 charges, including rape, sexual battery and forced oral sodomy.
He was sentenced to 236 years in prison.
Holtzclaw maintained his innocence throughout his trial, and continues to claim his victims are lying.
In an interview with 20/20, Holtzclaw said he believes the accusations against him are financially motivated.
“The fact is, when you approach these women [and say], ‘We have a tip that you’ve been sexually assaulted by an Oklahoma City police officer,’ based on the area that I worked in and the environment and the atmosphere that I worked at — you should know that these women in these lifestyles — that’s basically giving them a lottery ticket to say, ‘Yes.’ All they had to do was say, ‘Yes,’ and then you’re going to file charges on me.”