Justice

Cop Charged With Sexually Assaulting 7 Black Women Released From Jail

CREDIT: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Daniel Holtzclaw, center

Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw was released from jail Friday as he faces charges for allegedly sexually assaulting 7 different African American women while he was on duty. Among the claims against him are forcible rape, burglary, and felonious stalking.

The judge who initially set his bond at $5 million said he researched his target victims and tracked them down before assaulting them, according to Michigan Live. The 27-year-old former college football player’s bond was later reduced and he paid $500,000 to be released from jail and placed on home arrest. Holtzclaw was removed from duty in June after a women reported a sexual assault during a traffic stop. Many other women subsequently came forward.

Holtzclaw’s sister had initiated a campaign on GoFundMe To raise money for his legal defense. The site removed the campaign citing complaints, even though it would not heed calls to take down the lucrative fundraising campaign for Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown. But in the first 72 hours, the campaign had raised nearly $7,000. And the campaign continued to solicit donations to fund Holtzclaw’s bail through its Facebook page. They are also selling t-shirts through that page with the messages “FREE THE CLAW” and “JUSTICE4DANIELHOLTZCLAW.”

In any given month, there are multiple reports of on-duty cops raping women. And while the details of the allegations against Holtzclaw have not yet been made public, other instances of assault often involve police abusing their position of power against women who called the cops seeking help. In Milwaukee, a teen mom who called 911 because someone threw a brick through her window was raped by one of the officers and then held in jail for four days on charges of assaulting the officer. That officer had been previously accused of assaulting several other women — two of them prisoners — but hadn’t been charged in those incidents. In Baltimore, a woman reported she was raped by a cop who reported to the scene of her car accident. And in Georgia, a woman was assaulted by a cop after she called 911 to report domestic violence. Rather than arrest the husband accused of assault, the officer took the victim in his car and gave her the choice between going to jail or having sex with him, then used his gun during the rape.

Unlike police shootings, these instances are most likely to become public only when criminal charges follow. Those incidents that have come to the fore illustrate the ways in which women are victims of police violence, too.