Justice

Holtzclaw Victims Speak out Against the Brutal Rapes

December 12th 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

The day after an Oklahoma jury found former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty of rape and numerous sexual assault charges, two of the victims spoke out for the first time.

RELATED: The Oklahoma Cop Accused of Serial Rape Just Met His Fate

Jannie Ligons, who was pulled over and sexually assaulted by Holtzclaw in June 2014, was the first to report the officer. It was her account that lead to an investigation. In the months that followed, 13 Black women were found to have been victimized by Holzclaw, who appeared to target those with criminal records because they would be less likely to report the assault.

victim

"All I could think was, he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me," she said. "Only thing I could see was my life flash before my eyes, and the gun in the holster on his right side."

After she was arrested by Holtzclaw in 2013, Sharday Hill was transported to a hospital "on the whole other side of town" and handcuffed to a hospital bed. That's when the officer sexually assaulted her. She says that she felt paralyzed by fear and rendered speechless.

Holtzclaw victim

"He manipulated me," Hill said, pausing to collect herself.

"I just couldn’t even believe it. I was speechless, I was scared... I felt like I was in survivor mode. I had to do what he was making me do."

After four days of deliberation, an all-white jury convened for the final verdict on Wednesday night. Holtzclaw was found guilty of 18 out of 36 charges of sexual assault. He was ultimately convicted on charges from eight of the women, including four first-degree rape charges. The jury recommended that Holtzclaw serve 263 years in prison.

"It wasn't coincidence who he chose to violate, it was methodical and it was deliberate," said Benjamin Crump, a national civil rights attorney who stood with the victims and their families as they addressed the press. "Some might not consider them model citizens, but they were citizens. They were Americans, and their lives mattered."

RELATED: You Should Know The Story of Former Oklahoma Cop Daniel Holtzclaw

Crump added that sexual assaults by police officers "is not just happening in Oklahoma City." After excessive force, sexual harassment is the second most common complaint against police by minorities.

You can watch the victims tell their stories at the press conference here.