Convicted of multiple rapes, Okla. cop 'picked the wrong lady'

:Fired Oklahoma officer convicted of raping black women 'picked the wrong lady'@

By Nomaan Merchant And Sean Murphy@

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS@

See Full Article

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A "serial rapist with a badge" who faces many years in prison for raping black women on his police beat was caught because of the courage of a grandmother who refused to remain silent after he sexually assaulted her, her lawyer said Friday.

"He just picked the wrong lady to stop that night," said Jannie Ligons, whose complaint triggered the investigation that led to charges Daniel Holtzclaw victimized 13 women as an Oklahoma City Police officer. "I wanted to make sure this wouldn't happen again, no way no how."

Holtzclaw's conviction on charges including rape and sexual battery should send a strong message nationwide, said attorney Benjamin Crump, who plans to sue the city for civil damages.

"Black women's lives matter. It mattered just as if this were a group of 13 white women," Crump said.

Holtzclaw was found guilty on his 29th birthday Thursday of sex crimes against eight of the women, and acquitted of charges involving five other women he encountered while on night patrol. Jurors recommended 263 years, including 30-year sentences for each of four first-degree rape convictions.

Ligons, a daycare worker in her 50s who was pulled over while driving home from a night with friends, said she knew she had done nothing wrong when Holtzclaw assaulted her.

"He did things to me that I didn't think a police officer would do," said Ligons, flanked by her family and African-American activists outside the courthouse. "I was out there alone and helpless, didn't know what to do."

Investigators found other victims through records of the background checks Holtzclaw had requested, corroborated their claims through the GPS locator in his squad car. He was fired and then jailed as other victims emerged.

Holtzclaw's case was examined as part of a yearlong Associated Press investigation that revealed about 1,000 officers nationwide had lost their licenses for sex crimes or other sexual misconduct over a six-year period.

The AP's finding is undoubtedly an undercount, since not every state has a process for banning problem officers from re-entering law enforcement, and states that do vary greatly in how they report and prosecute wrongdoers.

One factor stands out, however: Victims tend to be among society's most vulnerable -- juveniles, drug addicts, and women in custody or with a criminal history.

Questions of race surrounded the trial. Holtzclaw is half-white, half-Japanese. All his accusers are black. The case was heard by an all-white jury. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he had sought a "good cross-section of our community," but defence attorneys had eliminated every potential black juror.

Prater said he hopes people will see that his office and local law enforcement will stand up for any one, no matter their race or background. Activists outside the courthouse on Friday said they will closely watch Holtzclaw's sentencing to make sure.

The youngest victim, a 17-year-old girl, was the last to testify. She said Holtzclaw picked her up as she walked home one night in June 2014, and then walked her to the porch, where he told her he had to search her. She said he grabbed her breasts, then pulled down her pink shorts and raped her. Her DNA was found on his uniform trousers.

The jury convicted Holtzclaw of first-degree rape, second-degree rape and sexual battery in the girl's case.

The AP does not identify victims of sex crimes without their consent and is not using the mother's name, but is using Ligon's name because she spoke publicly.

Defence attorney Scott Adams, who declined to comment, sought to use the criminal backgrounds of some of the victims to cast doubt on their testimony. He questioned several women at length about whether they were high at the time, and noted that most didn't come forward until investigators identified them.

Ultimately, the strategy failed.

One woman even testified in orange scrubs and handcuffs, because she had been jailed on drug charges hours before appearing in court, but the jury still convicted Holtzclaw of forcible oral sodomy in her case. That woman said he followed her into her bedroom and raped her, telling her, "This is better than county jail."

Holtzclaw, a college football star who joined law enforcement after a brief attempt at pursuing an NFL career, rocked back and forth, sobbing in his chair, as the verdicts were read. Citing the emotional outburst, authorities put him under a 24-hour watch in jail.

Contributors include Nomaan Merchant in Dallas; Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Florida; and Tim Talley in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Police Department is pleased with the jury's decision regarding the Daniel Holtzclaw trial. It was a...

Associated Press National Writer Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Florida, and AP reporter Tim Talley in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Johnny Depp sparks controversy with presidential assassination quip

    World News CBC News
    Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about U.S. President Donald Trump. Source
  • Man warns of barbecue brush dangers after metal bristle lodges in throat

    Canada News CTV News
    When Chester Poole sat down to devour a juicy burger straight off the barbecue recently, he was expecting to chomp down on the familiar taste of grilled meat. What he experienced instead, was a sharp pain in his throat and a trip to the emergency room. Source
  • Germany tells Turkey to back off after criticism of liberal Berlin mosque

    World News CTV News
    Seyran Ates, right, founder of the Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque preaches during the opening of the mosque in Berlin, Germany, Friday, June 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) Source
  • Ontario man who won $22M plans to keep his job

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ottawa-area man who won $22 million in the lottery last week says he doesn’t plan to buy a new house or fancy car but will instead use the windfall to give back to his community. Source
  • Son of Russian spies regains Canadian citizenship

    Canada News CBC News
    The Toronto-born son of Russian spies has won a court battle to regain his Canadian citizenship after it was revoked by Ottawa. The long-awaited Federal Court of Appeal decision in Alexander Vavilov's favour is the latest twist in an intriguing espionage saga that spans continents and cultures. Source
  • Q&A: A look at U.S.-Canada border after airport stabbing

    Canada News CTV News
    DETROIT -- Authorities say a Canadian man from Tunisia crossed legally into the U.S. days before stabbing a police officer in the neck at a Michigan airport. The attack raises questions about security along the northern border, including what the process is for travellers and how many people are detained or denied entry. Source
  • Authorities charge alleged mosque attacker Darren Osborne with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — British authorities have charged 47-year-old Darren Osborne with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder in connection with the van attack on a crowd of Muslim worshippers near two north London mosques. London police had linked the death of a 51-year-old man to the mosque attack, saying he died of “multiple injuries” after a van plowed into worshippers at a time the area was busy with people spilling out of mosques following Ramadan prayers. Source
  • Turkey rejects Gulf Arab states' demands over its Qatar base

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Turkey on Friday rejected a key demand by several Arab states involved in a major dispute with Qatar, saying Ankara has no plans to shut down its military base in the small Gulf country. Source
  • Russia fires missiles from Mediterranean at ISIS in Syria

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russia has fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea on positions of the Islamic State group in Syria, the Defence Ministry said on Friday, Moscow's latest show of strength in the conflict wracking the Mideast country. Source
  • Chinese parents alarmed by miniature crossbow craze

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Powerful mini-crossbows that shoot toothpicks and needles are the new must-have toy for schoolkids across China -- and a nightmare for concerned parents and school officials. Several cities including Shenzhen and Qingdao have reportedly banned sales of the palm-sized contraptions, which sell for about US$1 and are powerful enough to puncture soda cans, apples and cardboard, depending on the projectile. Source