Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw has been sentenced to 263 consecutive years in prison for the serial rapes of African-American women. In a packed courtroom, supporters of the victims broke into song as they awaited the sentencing.
Supporters: “I am loved. I am loved. I am brave. I am brave. I am strong. I am strong.”
The 263-year sentence came after Judge Timothy Henderson denied Holtzclaw’s request for a new trial. In December, an all-white jury convicted Holtzclaw of rape and other crimes against eight of the 13 women who accused him. Holtzclaw targeted the women during traffic stops and interrogations, forcing them into sexual acts in his police car or in their homes. Prosecutors say Holtzclaw deliberately preyed on vulnerable black women from low-income neighborhoods. He was reportedly under investigation by the Oklahoma City police sex crimes unit six weeks before his final crime. That means Holtzclaw assaulted half of the women he was convicted of attacking while under investigation. Across the United States, a recent Associated Press investigation uncovered about 1,000 cases where police officers have lost their badges for sexual assault or misconduct over a six-year period. After the sentencing, Jannie Ligons, the first victim of Officer Holtzclaw’s attacks to come forward, said justice had been served.
Jannie Ligons: “Justice was served today. I just know how glad I am and how proud I am, especially for all the victims, how we were traumatized and all the the things we had to go through.”