After four days of deliberation, a jury found former Oklahoma City Police Department Officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault on Dec. 10. Holtzclaw, who has been on trial since November 2, was accused of targeting black women in the community he patrolled.
All 13 women testified against Holtzclaw in the trial. But it wasn’t their first time telling their stories in court. Last November, during a two-day preliminary hearing, each woman told her story in succession — publicly, for the first time ever, in a smaller courtroom than the one in which they delivered their trial testimony.
Before the November hearings, these stories had been told only through prosecutors and detectives. This was the first time they explained what Daniel Holtzclaw did to them — how he exerted his authority, and how afterward they felt reporting him would be futile — in their own words. Their testimonies have never been reported altogether, in full, until now.
The stories are consistent, from the questions Holtzclaw initially asked them, to the way he exposed himself through the fly of his police uniform, to the remote locations he took some of them to. GPS data from Holtzclaw’s car and various phone records presented in court verify many of the geographical and timeline-related details.
According to prosecutors, Holtzclaw targeted these women because they had records and lived in a high-crime neighborhood. He allegedly chose them because they didn’t want any trouble and because they feared the police — because they likely wouldn’t report their assaults to the police. He was the police.
According to the defense, these women are drug abusers and sex workers — some convicted felons with histories of lying to the police. Sometimes their testimonies are inconsistent, the defense said; they have “agendas,” they’re lying. Holtzclaw’s attorney built his defense on this approach: focusing on the character of the women and the reliability of their testimony.
This is their testimony.
S.H. December 2013. “I didn't think that no one would believe me.”
S.H. was sitting in a truck outside an apartment complex when she was approached by three Oklahoma City Police Department officers. S.H., 23, said she was high on PCP and having an even stronger reaction after some had spilled on her skin. The officers called an ambulance for her. At a nearby hospital, S.H. was given a drink to help her come down from the drugs. After showering, she changed into a hospital gown and was transferred to various rooms.
In the second hospital room, she allegedly found herself alone with Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was observing her while she lay down, one arm handcuffed to her bed. S.H. didn’t know yet if she was under arrest.
About an hour into Holtzclaw observing her like this, S.H. recalls that he began repeatedly pointing out that her chest was exposed.
I'm thinking to myself, is he trying to come on to me? Because I'm like — he knows my condition, so he know that I'm not trying to show it to him.
If somebody else was in that situation I wouldn't keep on telling them that, you know, because I wouldn't want them to feel uncomfortable.
Holtzclaw allegedly approached her to pull up her hospital gown, but then groped her chest.
I'm high, [but] I'm thinking, like, I know I'm not tripping. He just did that.
He just went back and sat down at the chair in front of the bed and was talking to me.
He was talking nicely to me, as if he was trying to be my friend or wanted me to believe in — believe him.
He was asking me, why do I choose the type of baby daddies that I have.
Holtzclaw allegedly groped her two more times. She said she thought about trying to run on a bathroom break, "but I was so out of it like I wasn't going to be able to make it.” Holtzclaw allegedly told her he would “fuck the shit” out of her.
I just really can't believe it because it's the police. And I thought stuff like that only just really happened on movies. I couldn't believe what was going on was really going on.
[He said] that if I cooperate that just give it a month and to trust him that my charges would be off.
When he tell me to trust him, I'm saying I never trusted a cop. I never trusted a cop. So he was like, well, I've been straight up front with you all this time.
S.H. testified that Holtzclaw then exposed himself and forced her into oral sodomy, telling her to not move too much so that her heart monitor wouldn’t go off. She said that he said to her, "Ha-ha, you've never sucked a white dick before." Afterward, she asked if she was going to jail — he responded that he had to take her to jail. She asked him to call her mom for her. After the call, which he made on his cell phone, Holtzclaw allegedly groped S.H.’s genitalia.
I just gasped.
Later, he prepared to take S.H. to county jail.
When I was talking to the nurse when she was taking my blood pressure and everything she asked me a whole lot of questions and she asked me was I sexually assaulted in the last 24 hours or whatever, and I told her no. He was standing behind her with my files, I guess … And after I said, no, he closed the book up.
He told me, he was like, 'I hid your tickets for you and I made your bond super fucking cheap.'
About two weeks later after I got out, I had a [Facebook] friend request from him and I accepted it.
I remembered his face and I remember seeing his badge with the last name.
Holtzclaw and S.H. messaged about her charges. He asked her to call him, giving her his phone number, and said he wanted to meet her again.
We was texting and he had told me that he was leaving the Outlet Mall and that he wanted to come see me and talk about the case. And he came and he parked in the driveway next door at the vacant house and waited for me to come outside.
My husband just stepped out. I was watching my kids and my little brothers and sisters and the whole time we was in the car we was talking and he was telling me like to — pressuring me to have sex with him.
I kept on telling him I couldn’t because the kids was in the house by theyself [sic] and he really wasn't too worried about that. He just was telling me like, ‘Could you just bend over real quick?’
That night, Holtzclaw allegedly exposed himself to her and asked for oral sex. She told him she “couldn't because I had to watch the kids that was in the house.”
I just had enough like of him just trying to make me have sex with him, and I was telling him like he don't even have a rubber or the condom and he really didn't care about that. He was asking me like, ‘You don't trust me?'
And I was just like, 'I can't do it,' and then I was just like, 'I got to go.'
S.H. told her mom and her twin about Holtzclaw. But she didn’t tell the police until they approached her about the ongoing investigation.
Because I didn't think that no one would believe me. I feel like all police will work together and I was scared.
Update: On Dec. 10, Daniel Holtzclaw was found not guilty of any charges brought forward by S.H.
T.B. February through April 2014. “I wanted it to just go away.”
Around 11:30 p.m. one night, T.B. was sitting in a car with her two daughters and a friend, warming up the car before going to the store — waiting for midnight so that their food stamps would be ready — when two police cars rolled up. The officers told the women to get out of the car; T.B.’s friend went with one officer, and T.B. went with the other. The kids went inside the house. T.B. said she was put in the backseat of Holtzclaw’s patrol car, where she watched as her friend was allowed to go back into the house after a few minutes and the other officer drove off. She admitted to Holtzclaw she had outstanding tickets. She had been through this routine before, she said.
He spoke to me and told me I wasn't going to jail. [He asked did] I have any drugs under my shirt, and I said, no. And he asked could he see, so I lifted my shirt up and let him see.
I knew if I didn't I was going to jail.
I have been in the streets a very long time. And I know things — it naturally comes. First of all, if they going to search you a woman should be there to search you. Why would a man be asking what's under my shirt and could he see what's under my shirt?
He kept telling me, 'You know, you got these warrants. When are you going to take care of them?'
Holtzclaw asked T.B. if there were anything under her breasts, and then groped her. He then let T.B. go, and she went back into the house, where her friend and daughters asked what happened.
I told them that I had to show him my body to get out of the police car, so I wouldn't go to jail.
For real they were shocked. I'm like, 'Do you all believe me?' [They] said, 'Yes.'
How come I didn't call the police — I didn't. I wanted it to just go away.
The next month, T.B. said she had another encounter with Holtzclaw when she pulled up to her house and found his patrol car in her driveway. Holtzclaw was on the porch — he told T.B. to “come here,” and put her in the backseat of his car, running her name again. She asked him why he was at her house — he asked her where she had been and whether she’d taken care of her tickets yet. She told him he was scaring her daughter, who was on the front porch.
We did a little chatting. I can't recall each word, word for word.
We all know him by Spike.
Because when he knocked on my door and came in my house he always took the mousse and had his hair up and spikes up here at the front.
And that's how we identified him.
I don't even know what me and him was talking about. I was just ready to get it over with.
What I had to do to get out that police car to go in with my babies.
I knew what I had to do to get out. I didn't have money to pay my tickets and I knew [what] I had to do with him to get out the car.
She testified that she exposed her chest, but Holtzclaw didn’t touch her. He asked her if she had dope on her, and she said no. He asked if she had drugs in her pants. She pulled the waistband of her leggings away from her body.
When I was getting out of the car, I turned and I looked at where I was sitting at to see if there was $20 there. And I said, 'Why you got the $20 sitting there?' And he said, 'That's how I set my people up.' I left it at that and I went in the house with my babies.
When she got in the house, her boyfriend told her that earlier in the day, while he was sleeping, Holtzclaw had come into the house without permission and woken him up, telling him to come outside so Holtzclaw could run his name. T.B was upset, but she still didn’t want to call the police.
I didn't call them. I didn't think anyone would believe the allegations that I was making.
To be honest, I don't like the police and I try to stay away from them as far as I can.
A month later, she had yet another encounter with Holtzclaw. She was at home, on the phone with her mother when Holtzclaw showed up at her door. He wanted to come in. She told him she was on the phone — she had put the call on speakerphone. Holtzclaw said he wanted to search the house for drugs. She said no, and he got mad.
I told him when he go get his search warrant and stop coming by by hisself [sic] and bring other officers I'll freely open my door.
T.B.’s mother told T.B she should “pick up and leave.” She followed her mother’s advice, moving her family out of the neighborhood.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of sexual battery and procuring lewd exhibition related to T.B.'s testimony, but not stalking or burglary.
C.R. March 2014. “It was nobody there but just me and him, so to me, I just took it as my word against his.”
C.R. said she was walking alone one night when Holtzclaw stopped her. The officer asked if she had an ID, where she was coming from, and where she was going. He asked if she had anything on her, and she said no. He patted down her front pockets to check.
He just kept asking did I have anything on me, he asked me if I had been arrested, and I was asking him why was he stopping me. I mean, for what reason. I don't have any warrants. I had my ID.
He said he just wanted to talk.
It was just like nonchalant conversation. I don't remember word-for-word, but he was asking me [if] I [had] anything on me, more or less talking about the upper part of my body.
He was motioning his hand, like, ‘Do you have anything else on you?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ And he just kept [telling] me that he needed to be sure that I didn't have anything on me. So I just got to the point where I just opened my jacket and raised up my shirt and lifted my bra.
Because he kept asking me, talking about making sure that I didn't have anything on me, and I was ready to get away from him.
C.R. testified that she had come into contact with officers before that night, but that she had never had been made to raise her shirt like that. Afterward, Holtzclaw put her in the backseat of his patrol car, where she stayed in his for another 30–45 minutes for more “nonchalant talk.”
I don't remember exactly what it was [like], because in my mind was just thinking I wanted to get away, you know. And then after he let me out the car, I started walking back down 16th, and then a friend of mine saw me and he picked me up.
I spoke only in passing about it maybe once or twice, but I never went into details about it with anybody. I didn't — I just try not to think about it.
I didn't think anything would be done. I mean, it was nobody there but just me and him, so to me I just took it as my word against his, so I just blew it off — as best as I could just walked away from it.
Update: Holtzclaw was found not guilty of procuring lewd exhibition from C.R.
F. April 2014. “He had asked me something about working girls and I told him I didn't know nothing about any working girls.”
F. testified that she was walking home one night when Holtzclaw stopped her. Earlier that day, she said, she had been drinking and smoking crack. The officer had stopped the 54-year-old woman before.
He asked for her ID, and she showed it to him. He had her empty her pockets — she had a crack pipe on her — and he handcuffed her, sitting her down on the curb.
He had asked me something about working girls and I told him I didn't know nothing about any working girls.
Holtzclaw also asked F. if she was a working girl. She said she wasn’t.
F. had outstanding city warrants, and Holtzclaw told her she needed to take care of them. He crushed her pipe and told her she was free to go. But when he took her cuffs off, Holtzclaw allegedly groped her chest over her clothes.
Once she was released, F. walked away from him, across a park.
Update: Holtzclaw was found not guilty of sexual battery in F.'s case.
R.C. April 2014. “I was just ashamed and I didn't want to face the rape. I didn't want to face it.”
R.C. was six months sober at the time of her testimony in November 2014 — but in late April 2014, when she met Daniel Holtzclaw, she had been drinking in a car parked in a vacant lot across from a Family Dollar. She had just given someone a ride home when Holtzclaw pulled her over. He ran her name and told her to get out of her car so that he could search it; he said he smelled alcohol.
I told him I didn't want to go to jail.
He said he wasn't going to take me to jail. He would take me to detox.
After he looked into my car, he told me to pull my pants down. And at this time I was thinking that he was going to search me, but I wondered why he didn't call for a woman police officer, a backup to help him search me to see if I had anything on me. Because I know that police officers can search you, but I didn't think he had a right to search me.
She told Holtzclaw she didn’t want to go to detox. He insisted, and she asked if she could first drop her car off at a relative’s house a mile or so away, so that it wouldn’t get towed. He said yes.
I knew something was going to happen. I didn't know what.
After she parked in front of the house, Holtzclaw led her to the backseat of his police car. He drove away and parked on a street near a bus lot, then told her to get out.
[He] was an officer and I was scared and I know that he could hurt me, so I did what he said.
R.C. testified that Holtzclaw then raped her for five or ten minutes. He let her go, and she went to her brother’s house.
I didn't tell him everything that happened, but I asked him a question. I said, ‘Does a police have the right to ask a woman to pull her clothes down without another officer being there, a woman officer?’ And he told me he didn't know.
But she didn’t tell her brother the whole story.
Because I was ashamed. I've been a victim. I've been molested as a child by a minister in my church. I've been raped a couple of times. So I was just ashamed and I didn't want to face the rape. I didn't want to face it.
She testified that shame stemming from her alcoholism also contributed to her reluctance to come forward — she didn’t want her brother to know she had been stopped for a DUI.
Because I'm an alcoholic, but I'm in recovery. I'm an alcoholic and I suffer with that problem since — for years. Since the '80s. And I failed so many times — and I was ashamed, you know. I didn't go to prison until I was 30 years old, but my mother was a Christian, so I was ashamed of what I was doing, you know.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of raping R.C.
R.G. April 2014. “And he was like ‘This is, you know, better than the county.’”
On the night that R.G., 38, testified that she came into contact with Holtzclaw, she was walking by herself; he was in his car. That day, she had been "relapsing and getting high off of crack cocaine,” she said.
I was a nervous wreck and so I had — I was relapsing. I told him I was relapsing, you know, I didn't have no business off over here anyways.
He searched her bag and found her pipe.
I was babbling on and on because, you know, I was still nervous about it.
He asked her to throw the pipe on the ground and offered to give her a ride. She gave him the address of the place she was living with her boyfriend. When they got there, she realized she didn’t have her purse — that Holtzclaw had set it on top of his car. He said he’d go back and get it, and she told him not to worry about it.
I'm just trying to depart, separate from him.
Then I started walking towards the door and he was walking with me. And at first I was — I mean, it was odd, you know, but I wasn't going to question him, you know.
R.G. had encountered cops before — even gotten rides from some — but never had them escort her to her door.
Now, that's when my spirit was like something is just strange about that.
She thought he might have doubts that she really lived in the house, so she started showing him around the house to prove she was familiar with it. He followed her up the stairs, where she showed him her room. Then he told her to sit on the bed.
And he was like ‘This is, you know, better than the county.’
Holtzclaw exposed himself to R.G. through his fly, and she was forced into oral sodomy. She said the whole time she noticed his gun close to her face. About 10 minutes later, she testified, Holtzclaw raped her. But after a few minutes, he abruptly stopped, she said.
I think because he was kind of looking out because my bedroom is above the front lawn and maybe he was looking out, maybe he got nervous. I don't really know. I could see he was looking like out the window and then back at me at that point.
He immediately left.
R.G. would tell her boyfriend and father what happened to her, but she didn’t tell the police. She was scared and relapsing, she said.
I didn’t really know what to do, to be honest with you.
She testified that she saw Holtzclaw one more time, after she’d just relapsed again. She acted like she didn’t see him, and he circled around the block she was walking on before driving away.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of forcible oral sodomy related to R.G.'s testimony, but he was found not guilty of raping her.
T.M. May 2014. “I know that like I've been in trouble before, so I mean like, who am I to a police officer?”
T.M., 44, testified that she was leaving an apartment complex when Holtzclaw pulled up beside her. The officer asked to search T.M.’s purse and if she had anything on her. T.M. told him she had a crack pipe. He put her in his car and ran her name through his system.
He asked me a bunch of questions — where was I coming from, where was I going — and I told him all that.
We sat there for a few minutes. I guess he was trying to see if I had a warrant … Then he got out. He came to the back door. He opened the door. I thought he was going to let me go.
Holtzclaw allegedly told T.M. to pull down her pants and raise up her shirt. After having T.M. expose herself, Holtzclaw told her she could go to jail for the crack pipe. T.M. told him most officers just threw them away — eventually, he gave it back to her.
He didn't say I could do anything not [to] go to jail. He just did what he did. That was probably whether I was going [to] or not.
Holtzclaw allegedly forced T.M. into oral sodomy, exposing himself. She did it, briefly, and then he let her go.
I was scared.
About him being an officer. I was nervous and I felt like even though I didn't have no warrants that he might make up something on me and send me into jail any way.
I know that like I've been in trouble before, so I mean like, who am I to a police officer?
When he let me out he asked me where was I going, I told him I was going to my uncle's house. And he said, I don't think it's safe for you to walk.
He said, ‘I wouldn't want anything to happen to you.’
He allegedly told her to get back in the car and then drove her to an open field.
We didn't get out. He stopped for a second.
I don't know. It was like he was thinking, deciding or something whether — I don't really know, but then I think he was deciding whether to, but I was so hysterical, kind of hollering a little bit.
Because I was nervous and scared and I didn't know what was going to happen next.
All of the sudden he told me to chill out because I was kind of crying and getting hysterical. And he was like I'm going to take you back. I'm going to take you where you go, and all of the sudden he just turned around and went back up the street and dropped me off where I asked.
T.M. said she didn’t want to tell the police at first — that she was too scared.
I didn't think nobody was going to believe me anyway. And I'm a drug addict, so the only way I knew to handle it was to go and get high to try to block it out, to make it seem like it didn't happen.
I didn't want to because people were telling me ... they wasn't going to believe me over a police — and I almost feel like all [officers] are the same.
But then one night she and her ex had an argument, and the police were called. When the officers arrived, T.M.’s ex urged her to tell them about her alleged assault.
Update: Holtzclaw was found not guilty of any charges brought forward by T.M.
S.B. May 2014. “We hear stories about the police, you know — it's real.”
S.B., 48, was out walking when Holtzclaw stopped her, pulling his patrol car alongside her. He stayed in the car while asking her where she was coming from and where she was going.
There is a house on the corner, and he asked me did I come from that house. And I was telling him, ‘No.’ And he was saying that it was a drug house. And I didn't know why he was asking me that because that's not where I was coming from.
He asked me did I have anything on me or, you know, the usual questions.
Any drug paraphernalia, drugs, whatever, weapons, whatever.
S.B. said she didn’t have anything on her. Holtzclaw got out of his car, putting her in the backseat, and ran her name for outstanding warrants. She didn’t have any.
He said, ‘Well, you got two choices. I can take you to detox or to jail.’
I had been drinking earlier and I guess I had alcohol smell on me or something.
She told the officer she’d rather go home.
Well, he sat there for a minute and he said, ‘Okay, I'm going to take you home.’
[He said] that he was really trying to get me off the streets and he was going to take me home, you know.
Instead Holtzclaw took her to place the neighborhood calls Dead Man’s Curve. He slowed down and told her she had two choices — oral sodomy and rape or jail.
I was like, ‘Really?’ … And he said, ‘No, really, I'm serious. You're going to give me head, sex, or you're going to jail.’
S.B. said "Okay." She was forced into oral sodomy and raped.
[Afterward] I sat back in the backseat, closed the door.
He said, ‘Do you know where you are?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do.’ He said, ‘Well, it's about time for me to get off duty.’ He said, ‘Can you make it from here?’ I said, ‘Yes, I can.’ He got out the car, he opened the back door and he let me out and he said, ‘I'll see you again.’
S.B. said she saw him "many times" afterward.
He would come through the neighborhood, driving through the neighborhood.
He would stop, ask me what was I doing, where was I going. As a matter of fact, the day after that I was walking with my boyfriend and he stopped me, asked me what was I doing and where was I going.
He stopped me one day in front of a friend. It was a nice day and everyone was out and he asked me did I, you know, tell anybody about the incident that happened and I said, ‘Yes, I did.’
He sped off because there was a lot of people out, and the people that I had told seen him and was looking at him and made remarks, so he sped off real quick.
S.B. said that she told her “whole neighborhood” about what happened, but like the others, she never told the police.
Well, in my neighborhood it's like, you know, we hear stories about the police, you know — it's real — I mean — doing things.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of both forcible oral sodomy and rape in S.B.'s case.
S.E. May 2014. “I was very scared. I had never had nothing happen to me like that before.”
Just before midnight, S.E. was leaving her house on foot to visit her cousin when Holtzclaw stopped her.
I told him my name. And he had me in the back of the police car and he run a check on me, and he found out that I had warrants … He got out of the police car and opened the door. He asked me what was we going to do about the situation.
S.E. told Holtzclaw she knew she had warrants from city tickets and that she’d recently gotten out of the penitentiary. After telling her he was going to search her, Holtzclaw groped S.E. under her shirt and pants.
I knew it wasn't supposed to happen like that.
He exposed himself through his fly, forcing S.E. into oral sodomy. She said she thought if she didn’t do it, she would go to jail.
Holtzclaw then drove her to a park next to a shuttered school, parking between a building and a group of overgrown trees. There, she testified, he raped her for about five or ten minutes.
I didn't know what was going to happen. I mean, he's a police — I didn't know. I was very scared. I had never had nothing happen to me like that before.
Afterward, Holtzclaw said she was free to go.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of all charges brought forward by S.E., including rape, forcible oral sodomy, and sexual battery.
C.J. May 2014. “Who are they going to believe? It's my word against his because I'm a woman and, you know, like I said, he's a police officer.”
C.J., 52, was walking to a friend’s house when Holtzclaw stopped her. He asked her what she was doing and where she was going, and told her to take everything out of her pockets. She took her money — $55 in cash — and keys out of her pocket, placing them next to her purse and jacket on the back of the police car.
He set my things on the backseat of the police car and he gets me in the backseat and he gets in the front seat and … [gets] to questioning me.
So he's asking me questions: have I ever been arrested before, do I have anything stashed on me, you know, have I ever been arrested for prostitution and all that. And then he kept saying. ‘Are you sure you don't have anything stashed on you, because most girls that get arrested, you know, they're always hiding drugs down there close?’ And I told him, ‘No,’ that he can call a female officer to check me if he like, you know.
I've been through this before.
She heard through his radio that she had no outstanding warrants, and Holtzclaw let her out of his car.
So as I'm getting out of the backseat of the car, I notice a $20 bill laying in the backseat of the car. So I go, ‘Oh, I must have dropped my money,’ so I pick my money up and as I'm picking up my money he go, ‘Well, let me check the backseat and make sure you didn't put any drugs back there.’ So by now I'm back at the back end of the car getting my belongings, my purse, and my jacket, and stuff. And then he tells me ‘Oh, yeah, by the way, give me back that $20 you picked up. ‘ And I tell him ‘No, that's my money.’ He go, ‘No, that's mine.’
So I took and pulled my money out — and I'm counting my money, and I see that I actually did still have my money along with an extra $20 bill, and that's when I tell him … ‘I'm sorry. This is yours.’ And he tell me, ‘Well, yeah.’ He said he put that there for a reason.
She didn’t ask him what that reason was. She went back on her way to her friend’s house. But a few weeks later, she came into contact with Holtzclaw again while she was out walking, around 2 a.m., after leaving another friend’s house. Holtzclaw’s patrol car nearly hit her as he was turning a corner. He stopped and told her he didn’t see her.
He go, 'Haven't I stopped you before? Didn't I arrest you?’ And I told him, no, he stopped me, but, you know, I didn’t get arrested. So anyway we talked and he puts me once again in the backseat of his car and he … calls it in, you know. We're talking and he asked me about drugs being down my pants.
She told him there weren’t any drugs down her pants and heard her name come back clear over the radio.
So he's getting me out the backseat of the car, so as I'm getting out, he go, ‘Are you sure you don't have anything down your pants?’ And I tell him, ‘No, I didn't.’
That’s when Holtzclaw groped her under her clothes.
All I can say was, ‘Sir, you're not supposed to be doing that. Please, sir.’ Because I know that's something that he's not supposed to be doing. He's not supposed to be touching me, not like that.
Holtzlcaw released C.J. She walked away, and Holtzclaw began droving away. She was on the phone with her roommate, leaving him a message and telling him what happened, when Holtzclaw’s car approached again.
He stops again and he go, ‘By the way, you have a warrant you need to go and get taken care of.’ And I said, ‘A warrant?’ He go, ‘Yeah, I don't know what it's about, but you need to go and get it taken care of,’ and then he drove off.
C.J. said she thought about calling the police.
But then I thought, then again, you know, who are they going to believe? It's my word against his because I'm a woman and, you know, like I said, he's a police officer. So I just left it alone and just prayed that I never saw this man again, run into him again, you know.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of sexual battery in C.J.'s case.
K. June 2014. “I was scared … of these police systems.”
One night, K. went on a walk to cool off after arguing with her boyfriend. As she walked, a police officer pulled up beside her, his lights flashing. K. was talking to her boyfriend on the phone, and Holtzclaw told her to turn her phone off. She hung up on her boyfriend, telling him she was “fixing to get my name checked.”
After putting her in the backseat and running K.'s name, Holtzclaw offered her a ride, she said. She declined. She didn’t want to be seen getting a ride from a cop, fearing people would think she’s a snitch.
He wasn't trying to hear it. Like he was still trying to get me to get a ride and saying it was too late at night to be walking.
Holtzclaw insisted. But instead of taking her in the direction she wanted, Holtzclaw allegedly drove her to an abandoned school, hopping the curb and sliding between two buildings on the school’s campus. He made her expose herself and allegedly told her, "I bet that pussy is wet,” then forced her into oral sodomy. He then raped her, she testified. Afterward, Holtzclaw told her he wanted to see her the next day. She watched him drive off and she walked home.
She told her boyfriend what happened later. He said she should call 911. She didn’t.
Because I was scared … of these police systems.
I stayed in for a little bit, for a couple of days.
K. eventually told her probation officer what happened after seeing news about the Holtzclaw case on TV.
Update: Holtzclaw was found not guilty of any charges brought forward by K.
A. June 2014. “‘This is what you're going to have to do.’ That's what he said.”
A., then 17, was walking through her neighborhood with two friends, who were arguing, when Holtzclaw pulled up and stopped them. He said he got a call about one of her friends threatening the other, and he questioned each of the three separately. When it was A.’s turn, Holtzclaw searched her purse, ran her name through his system, and told her that she had outstanding warrants. He told her she needed to take care of them, then let her and her two friends go.
But later that night — just before dark — A. was alone and walking to her mom’s house when Holtzclaw stopped her again.
He says, like, ‘I'm not sure you who you say you are.’ Because I didn't have my ID on me. He asked me where I stayed at and, you know, I told him my mama's house. I was just visiting. So he put me in the car and he took me to my mom's house.
He let me out and then he kept on asking me if I had any drugs on me. I said, ‘No, I don't.’ He already had like looked through my purse earlier, so I was wondering — you know, it was kind of suspicious to me.
They were on A.’s mom’s porch when Holtzclaw told her he had to search her. He groped her underneath her clothes and inserted his fingers into her genitalia.
I was in shock. I was thinking like ‘What's going on? Why would he be doing this?’ He said, ‘You got warrants. I don't want to have to take you to jail. I don't want to make this any harder than it has to be.’ Something like that. I don't remember exactly.
I was in trouble. Like this was bad.
‘This is what you're going to have to do.’ That's what he said.
She testified that Holtzclaw then exposed his penis through his fly and raped her.
I told him I didn't even want to do it before he pulled my drawers down, but it was too late.
Afterward Holtzclaw told A., “'I might be back to see you later,'” she said.
I just stood there.
Why? Why? … I was confused. And I was shocked and I didn't know what to think and I didn't know what to do, like, what am I going to do, call the cops? He was a cop.
Later, A. said, she told a friend what happened. It didn’t go over well.
She said, like … ‘I wouldn't really tell a lot of people — they would think that you're snitching and it's not like you could tell the cops.’
[Snitches] — they're a waste of life.
I was afraid of what could happen to me if I did snitch or if people around my neighborhood thought I was snitching or talking to the police.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of sexual battery, rape in the first degree, and rape in the second degree by instrumentation based on A.'s testimony.
J. June 2014. “‘Oh, my God, he's going to kill me.’ That's what I kept saying to myself.”
J. was driving home from playing cards and dominoes at a friend’s house — “where I usually go to relax,” she said — when she was pulled over by Holtzclaw. Earlier that night, she took a hit of her friend’s joint, she said, but she didn’t feel high. She had left her friend’s house around 2 a.m. — she had to be home to drive her fiancé to work at 4 a.m.
[Holtzclaw] had his lights on … He said, he stopped me because I was swerving. And I said, ‘No, I wasn’t swerving.’ And then that's when he asked what did I have in my cup there, [said] that it was alcohol. I said, ‘No, sir, it's Kool-Aid.’
It was sitting in the center of my cup holder.
I said, ‘You can taste it.’
Holtzclaw told J. to step out the car. As he led her to his patrol car, he asked why she was nervous. She said she wasn’t.
I had my hands on the car and he just started patting me all over and said, ‘Do you have anything illegal on you?’ I said, ‘No, sir.’ He said, ‘You better let me know. If you do I'm going to take you to jail.’ I told him I didn't have any on me. He patted me down, didn't find any, and he told me to go sit in the back of his police car.
He went inside my car — apparently, he saw that was Kool-Aid, and I guess he went through my purse.
When he came back to the police car, he opened up the back door where I was at and he said to me ‘How do I know you don't have anything in your bra?’
J. testified that Holtzclaw then had her expose her breasts and genitals and shined his flashlight on both.
He wasn't touching me, but he was touching himself ... had his hand down there touching himself.
After he made a comment like he said, ‘Damn, you got a big ass.’ Those are the exact words. And I'm like, ‘Oh, my God, he's going to kill me.’ That's what I kept saying to myself.
At this point, J. was still sitting in the backseat of Holtzclaw’s car. He was standing beside her, outside the car, when he exposed his penis through his fly and said “Come on.”
I was twirling my hands together I was so afraid. I said, "No, sir. Now, you're not supposed to do this. You're not supposed to do this, sir."
He said, ‘Come on.’ He said, ‘I don't have all night.’ He said, ‘ just got off of work.’
And I'm sitting there, ‘No, sir, don't make me do this. Don't make me do this.’ I said, ‘You're going to shoot me,’ and I'm sitting there looking afraid. I try to bend my head down, but I was looking at that gun in his holster and I'm saying to myself when I bend down he's going to shoot me in the head. I was really afraid.
I raised my head back up and I said, ‘Sir, please don't make me do this. Don't make me do this. You're going to shoot me.’ Then … he said, ‘I'm not going to shoot you, I promise.’ I said, ‘You promise?’ And he kind of made a snicker sound.
A snicker, like a grin. He kind of grinned.
I held my head back up and I said, ‘Oh, no, sir, I can't do this.’ He backed away and he let me out the car. I thought he was going kill me. I just did. I couldn't see myself getting away with that.
J. said that she was forced into oral sodomy, but only a "little bit … Not for very long because I wouldn't allow it.” He backed away from the car, and she got up.
I didn't know what else to say. The only thing that would come to my mind because I thought when I walked away he was going to shoot me in the back. The only thing I could say, was ‘Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir, for not taking me to jail.’
J. got in her car, while Holtzclaw got in his car to follow her to her daughter’s house. But right before she turned onto the interstate, Holtzclaw sped right past her. She drove straight to her daughter’s house.
I was crying. I woke her up out of her sleep. I said, ‘I need to talk to you. Something just happened to me.’ And she was mad because I woke her up and she jumped out of bed … And I told her what happened and she say, ‘What?’ And she started screaming and she was so upset.
So she got her kids out of bed, she got them dressed. Her boyfriend was there. We all got in her car, we went to Springlake Police Division. No one was there. It was dark. I left. I looked around to see if I saw any lights or anything. There was no lights. We left there and went … back towards her house. We saw two police cars [parked] like side-by-side like they were talking.
We made a U-turn and went back. And I started telling them what happened, and they called the captain, and the captain came and they took a report, and they took me back to the scene where it happened.
Update: Holtzclaw was found guilty of procuring lewd exhibition and the forcible oral sodomy of J.
J.’s allegations kicked off an investigation into Holtzclaw, putting him on administrative leave and eventually leading to his arrest. Detectives went through Holtzclaw’s records of running women’s names to interview each suspected victim. Ultimately these 13 women came forward, resulting in these three dozen charges against Holtzclaw, ranging from indecent exposure and stalking to forcible oral sodomy and rape. Of the 36 charges he faced, Holtzclaw was found guilty of 18.
On Dec. 10, Holtzclaw was found guilty on multiple charges of sexual assault and rape. This story has been updated to reflect each individual verdict.
Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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