An Oklahoma City police officer and former college football star named Daniel Holtzclaw was charged last week with sexually abusing eight black women; today, BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa has a dispatch from a Wednesday bond hearing that describes his alleged crimes in detail. Holtzclaw was accused of sexual assault by a 57-year-old woman in June, and a subsequent investigation revealed what prosecutors say was a pattern of exploitation.
[Detective Kim] Davis was the on-call detective in the Oklahoma City Police Sex Crimes Unit that night and met J.L. at the hospital, where she was receiving a sexual assault medical forensic exam. Two and a half months later, on Wednesday afternoon, Davis and another detective recounted for a district judge how J.L.’s report was similar to an unsolved May 2014 assault report allegedly involving an officer. The connection led the detectives to identify six more women who said they’d been assaulted, raped, or forced to expose themselves to Holtzclaw while he was on duty.
Holtzclaw’s “mistake” — the slip-up that prosecutors said landed him in orange jail scrubs in an unremarkable fluorescent-lit courtroom on Wednesday — was believing J.L. was similar to his other alleged victims: all black middle-aged women, but women of a lower social status and with reason to fear the authorities. They had been caught with active warrants or drug paraphernalia. J.L., Davis said, had no criminal record to be held over her. She was driving through the neighborhood where the other women were confronted, but she didn’t live there.
Holtzclaw is a native of Enid, Oklahoma, but played linebacker for Eastern Michigan University’s football team in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he was voted a freshman All-American and started more games than any other player in program history. His family has launched an online campaign asserting his innocence, and his lawyer says he denies all charges.