The Washington Post

Oklahoma City cop arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting women while on duty

Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, a college football star-turned-Oklahoma City police officer, has been arrested on accusations that he sexually assaulted several women while on duty. Holtzclaw, 27, spent Thursday night in jail on a $5 million bond.

Police arrested Holtzclaw on Thursday afternoon on complaints of rape in the first degree, rape by instrumentation, three counts of forcible oral sodomy, two counts of sexual battery and two counts of indecent exposure (specifically, for forcing another individual to expose herself to him), according Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.

Prater said at a press conference Thursday that he expects to formally charge the officer by Aug. 29. If Holtzclaw is convicted, the rape charge alone carries the possibility of life in prison.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said Thursday that the victims in the case are all black females between the ages of 34 and 58. Holtzclaw allegedly stopped several women while on duty over the past several months, sometimes threatening them with arrest unless they complied with his demands, Citty said. Those demands, he said, ranged from forcing the women to expose themselves, to fondling them against their will, to forced acts of oral sex and, in one case, rape.

At the time of the alleged assaults, Holtzclaw worked the 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift patrolling the northeast part of the city, according to the Oklahoman. His alleged victims — stopped as they walked through the neighborhood — were either assaulted on the spot or taken to another location, officials said.

Police placed Holtzclaw on administrative leave on June 18, on the same day they received their first complaint.

There are now seven reported victims, and police have statements from six of them. “There’s a good possibility that there may be more victims,” Citty said.

The department released a photo of Holtzclaw to the media and encouraged other potential victims to contact police. “When something like this happens, our officers take this very personally,” Citty said, adding that “I have to hope that most of the community realizes that our officers, 99.9 percent of them, are trustworthy.”

As the Oklahoman reported,  Holtzclaw was one of four Oklahoma City police officers named in a wrongful death suit filed at the beginning of this year. In the suit, Velencia Maiden alleged that the officers used excessive force while arresting her son Clifton Armstrong in May 2013. Armstrong died later that evening.

Armstrong had called 911 while suffering from methamphetamine toxicity, according to the medical examiner’s report. The report characterized his ensuing arrest and confrontation with police as an “aggravating factor” in his death.

Both the police department and Prater, the Oklahoma County district attorney, cleared all four officers of any wrongdoing following an investigation.

Before he became an Oklahoma City cop, Holtzclaw was a star linebacker for Eastern Michigan University’s football team, according to, which noted:

As a four-year starter at Eastern Michigan from 2005-2008, Holtzclaw holds the EMU record for most career starts (47) and is second all-time in school history in tackles (437). He earned Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers of America after his first season in Ypsilanti.

Here’s a video of Thursday’s press conference, via the Oklahoman:

Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.



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