Justice

Daniel Holtzclaw's Victims Are Taking Their Fight to the next Level

March 8th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Seven of Daniel Holtzclaw's victims are suing Oklahoma City for not monitoring the former Oklahoma City police officer enough during his time in the role. The civil lawsuit claims that the department knew about an alleged sexual assault seven months prior to the first reported sexual assault and that he was not properly trained or tested.

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In December, Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison after he was convicted of rape, sexual battery, and other charges. The jury in Oklahoma convicted him on counts "involving eight of the 13 women who had accused him," according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit cites an accusation that Holtzclaw threw a black woman against a restaurant wall and rubbed his genitals onto her rear end before putting her in the back of his cop car, according to local news station FOX25. It also alleges that Holtzclaw drove around town before stopping behind a store, at which point the woman had urinated in her clothing out of sheer terror.

The woman then addressed her injuries at the hospital, where she spoke with Holtzclaw's supervisor Oklahoma City Police Department officer Brian Bennett, who said he would "look into" the incident, but the woman claims she never heard from the police department after that. The suit alleges that Holtzclaw should have been put on desk duty while the department looked into the incident rather than allowing him to keep working on the street. Oklahoma City police spokesman Paco Balderrama told the Associated Press, however, that the woman did not report "any type of sexual misconduct when she spoke to a supervisor about the incident."

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This woman was not among the 13 women in the criminal case, and she has also reportedly filed a separate lawsuit against Holtzclaw and the city, according to the Associated Press.

Seven months after this incident, however, Jannie Ligons alleged Holtzclaw sexually assaulted her.

Holtzclaw was found to have victimized more than a dozen black women and targeted those with criminal records to decrease his chances of being reported. Prosecutors also argued that Holtzclaw assumed people would doubt the credibility of these women.

"It wasn't coincidence who he chose to violate, it was methodical and it was deliberate," Benjamin Crump, a national civil rights attorney, said last year, according to The Huffington Post. "Some might not consider them model citizens, but they were citizens. They were Americans, and their lives mattered."

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