Doesn’t it seem like every day some crazy story involving a police officer is in the headlines?
As of late it seems to have been the authorities themselves giving somebody grief; but now, the “shoe is on the other foot” so to speak, as an Oklahoma City police officer found himself under arrest Thursday and charged in relation to a string of violent sex crimes that investigators say he committed while on duty, according to CBS affiliate News 9.
The officer, Daniel Holtzclaw, was apprehended at 3 p.m. outside a Gold’s Gym location.
And get this, his victims were all African American women between the ages of 34 and 58.
Holtzclaw’s charges include rape in the first degree, rape by instrumentation, three counts of forcible sodomy, two counts of sexual battery and two counts of indecent exposure, News 9 reports.
Oklahoma City authorities identified seven victims and have collected statements from six females.
According to police the victims’ alleged attacks happened between February and June; with the officer committing most of his crimes during traffic stops – either at the locations of those stops or he transported the women to another location.
News 9 interviewed a 57-year-old grandmother who says she was one of the victims. The woman says she feels vindicated by Holtzclaw’s arrest and she’s happy that other women came forward.
She learned about the arrest of the officer while she was at work and came home to find the picture of the man she says violated her all over the news.
“Oh my God, I was frantic,” she told News 9 Thursday night. “I was just devastated! I said, ‘That’s him! That’s him!’ That’s all I could say was, ‘Oh my God! That’s him!’”
“My heart started beating fast, my hands started shaking,” she said. “Only thing I could do was turn my head to keep the tears away. Nothing else would come to my mind but that’s him!”
Police Chief Bill Citty said Holtzclaw had been with the department since September 2011. After receiving a complaint in June, Citty says investigators started reviewing previous stops by Holtzclaw.
“It taints all of us, and the officers know that and they take it very personally,” said Citty. “And it angers us that one of our people, one of our officers, that people trust to keep them safe, is doing just the opposite.”
Several African American community leaders are now calling for a thorough investigation.
“We have some good officers on the force, but yet as we see today, we have a problem when it comes to African Americans and police officers,” Oklahoma NAACP President Anthony Douglas said.
Holtzclaw was booked into the Oklahoma County jail on a $5 million bond.
The first-degree rape charge alone can carry a sentence of five years to life or life without parole.
(Photo Source: CBS News 9)