Arguing that police should have done something sooner to stop rapist and ex-Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, lawyers for the victims have amended a federal civil rights suit to include new victim information.
In the amended suit filed against Holtzclaw, Oklahoma City officials, Oklahoma City Police Department Chief Bill Citty, among others, lawyers charge that Holtzclaw illegally detained an African-American woman in 2013, seven months before Jannie Ligons, 57, came forward after being sexually assaulted by Holtzclaw.
Ligon’s allegations helped lead to Holtzclaw’s conviction, when he was found guilty on 18 of 36 counts of rape, sexual battery, lewd acts and oral sodomy. In January, he was sentenced to 263 years in prison.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents 7 of the victims, held a news conference on Monday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where victims denounced the police for failing to investigate Holtzclaw in 2013.
“There is shocking new evidence in our pleadings,” he told NewsOne. “It contradicts what the police have been saying.”
The amended suit identifies the victim as Demetria Campbell, who says she was victimized on Nov. 5, 2013, when Holtzclaw illegally detained her as she was going to pick up food from TJ’s Seafood Restaurant for her daughter, who was being treated for terminal cancer at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center Hospital.
But she was suddenly detained by Holtzclaw without probable cause and reportedly had to urinate on herself to escape a sexual assault.
He reportedly slammed her against a brick wall outside the restaurant and rubbed his genitals against the woman’s backside. Holtzclaw then allegedly handcuffed and threw the woman into the backseat of his patrol vehicle, the suit says.
From the suit:
Defendant Holtzclaw then handcuffed Campbell and threw her into the back of his police car. At no time did Plaintiff threaten Holtzclaw, nor did she make any threatening gesture or exhibit any aggression towards him.
Campbell prayed, pleaded, and sobbed as Holtzclaw drove her around Oklahoma City while handcuffed in the backseat of his patrol vehicle through various parts of the OKC, including stopping behind a store. Campbell, fearing that she was about to be raped, urinated on herself in a desperate attempt to dissuade Holtzclaw from raping her. After some time, Holtzclaw took Campbell, handcuffed and urine soaked, back to TJ’s and released Campbell without filing any charges.
Immediately after Holtzclaw’s attack, Campbell returned to OU Medical Center and sought treatment for her injuries which included cuts and abrasions to her face. One of the nurses called the OKC Police Department and demanded that a supervisor come to the hospital to address Holtzclaw’s assault on Campbell.
The suit essentially says the police created a false narrative, meaning officials had knowledge of a victim in 2013, but Campbell’s police report allegedly got lost and doesn’t exist.
Ligons said she was devastated by news of an earlier victim.
“I feel betrayed by the system,” she told NewsOne. “This all could have been prevented if they had followed up on the earlier complaint.”
Latonya James, mother of one of the victims, Shandayreon Hill, 24, told NewsOne she was outraged by the revelation.
“As a mother I feel very outraged that they covered up this assault by Daniel Holtzclaw,” she said. “I feel like if they had investigated the charge when it first came up, my daughter would not have been one of his rape victims.”
While Holtzclaw has been criminally charged, we hope the women can now receive civil justice for all of their suffering.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform