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Daniel Holtzclaw reacts after the verdicts were read in his trial in Oklahoma City. Associated Press
Oklahoma

White ex-policeman found guilty of sexually assaulting eight black women

Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault.

Warning: This report contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault. 

A FORMER US police officer has been convicted of raping and sexually victimising eight women on his police beat in a minority, low-income neighbourhood.

Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, sobbed as the verdict was read aloud yesterday.

Jurors convicted him on 18 counts involving eight of the 13 women who had accused him; the jury acquitted him on another 18 counts.

He could spend the rest of his life in prison based on the jury’s recommendation that he serve a total of 263 years, including a 30-year sentence on each of four first-degree rape convictions.

He was also convicted of forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition and second-degree rape.

The jury deliberated for about 45 hours over four days. Holtzclaw’s sentencing is set for 21 January. A judge will decide whether he will have to serve the sentences consecutively.

Holtzclaw’s father — a police officer in Enid, about 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City — his mother and sister were in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

At least one accuser was present, as well as several black community leaders. Seven armed deputies were stationed around the room.

“Justice was done today, and a criminal wearing a uniform is going to prison now,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

The lead detective in the case, Kim Davis, said after the verdict: “I feel horrible for his family. It’s brutal, but I think justice was served.”

Oklahoma Officer Assaults Protestors carry signs outside the courthouse as the jury deliberates. Associated Press Associated Press

Victims

During a month-long trial, jurors heard from 13 women who said Holtzclaw sexually victimised them.

Most of them said Holtzclaw stopped them while out on patrol, searched them for outstanding warrants or checked to see if they were carrying drug paraphernalia, then forced himself on them.

Holtzclaw’s lawyer, meanwhile, described him as a model police officer whose attempts to help the drug addicts and sex workers he came in contact with were distorted.

Among the eight women Holtzclaw was convicted of attacking was a grandmother in her 50s who launched the police investigation.

She said she was driving home after 2am one night when Holtzclaw pulled her over.

He first asked her if she had been drinking, then ordered her out of the car and into the backseat of his squad car. He then stood over her and ordered her to perform oral sex.

The woman was tearful after the verdict and prayed with supporters outside the courtroom.

She was the first victim to testify. The last was a teenager who was 17 when Holtzclaw attacked her. Holtzclaw was convicted of three charges related to her case: first-degree rape, second-degree rape and sexual battery.

The teenager recalled Holtzclaw pulling up in his police car as she walked home one night in June 2014.

Betrayed By The Badge Daniel Holtzclaw is led from an Oklahoma courtroom in October. Associated Press Associated Press

Holtzclaw drove her home and walked her to her door, where he told her he had to search her. She said he grabbed her breasts, then pulled down her shorts before forcing them off and raping her.

He was also convicted of one of two charges related to a woman who testified he gave her a lift home, then followed her into her bedroom where he forced himself on her and raped her, telling her, “This is better than county jail.”

All of the accusers were black. Holtzclaw is half-white, half-Japanese.

The jury appeared to all be white, though Oklahoma court officials said they did not have race information for jurors.

Some supporters of the women questioned whether the jury would fairly judge their allegations.

A former college football star, Holtzclaw joined law enforcement after a brief attempt at pursuing an NFL career.

He was fired from his job before the trial began.

Read: A brave woman is calling for a fightback against harassment on Ireland’s streets

Read: Court to hear appeal that wholly suspended sentence for rapist was ‘unduly lenient’

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