In this Sept. 3, 2014, file photo Daniel Holtzclaw, center, arrives for a hearing in Oklahoma City.
Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP

Trial begins for officer accused of sexual abuse of black women

Updated

An Oklahoma City police officer accused of targeting black women for sexual abuse will be tried by an all-white jury.

Daniel Holtzclaw is currently on trial for 36 charges of rape, sexual battery, and indecent exposure involving 13 women. Prosecutors have said that Holtzclaw targeted black women who he believed would not report the crimes. He now faces an all-white jury of eight men and four women. KOCO reporter Patricia Santos reported that three black men were eliminated from the jury. 

“Not only is this individual stopping women who fit a profile of members of our society who are confronted rightly or wrongly by police officers all the time,” assistant district attorney Gayland Gieger told Buzzfeed News’ Jessica Testa last year, “he identifies a vulnerable society that without exception except one have an attitude for, ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?”

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Prosecutors say that Holtzclaw, whose trial began Monday in Oklahoma City, was only caught be because he sexually assaulted a middle-aged black woman who did not have a criminal record and chose to report to the police.

Holtzclaw has denied the charges. His family said in a statement last year that the case against the former college football player is “based on solicited testimony by the police department of felons, prostitutes and others who would have personal motives beyond the basic truth to fabricate their stories.”

The defense has so far taken a similar tack. Hotzclaw’s opening statement said the alleged victims are  “street smart like you can’t imagine,’” and said many were under the influence of drugs at the time of the alleged assaults, according to KFOR. On Nov. 4, for example, much of the questioning focused on the fact that an alleged victim said she had smoked marijuana on the day of the assaults.

The investigation began in May 2014, according to the charging document. Holtzclaw is accused of pulling over women in areas police say are known for drug use. Some of the women were drug users or had engaged in sex work. After the initial complaint, investigators began contacting other women who had been stopped by Holtzclaw, and identified a pattern.

According to a report filed by a detective in the case, Kim Davis, one of the victims was walking down the street when Holtzclaw stopped her and found her with a crack pipe. “He drove her home and followed her into her house,” the report says. There, the alleged victim said, Holtzclaw raped her orally and vaginally.

Another alleged victim told investigators she was forced to expose her breasts after being stopped by Holtzclaw. According to another police report filed last year, she “had warrants for her arrest but he advised her to work with him and he could take care of her.” Holtzclaw showed up at the victim’s home a month later, entering without permission, only to find her boyfriend sleeping there.  

Oklahoma

Trial begins for officer accused of sexual abuse of black women

Updated