A lawsuit obtained by the Guardian claims that Oklahoma City police were investigating Daniel Holtzclaw before his final attack on June 18, 2014. Despite the open investigation, the lawsuit claims that Holtzclaw was allowed to stay on regular duty.
Holtzclaw was convicted of 18 of 36 charges of rape and sexual assault on Thursday, December 10. The jury recommended a sentence of 263 years for his crimes. Holtzclaw’s crimes were committed between 2013 and June 18, 2014, but the Guardian report indicates that the Oklahoma City police began investigating Holtzclaw on May 8, 2014.
The paper reports:
Jannie Ligons, a 57-year-old daycare worker, was Holtzclaw’s final confirmed victim before his arrest. In the early morning hours of 18 June, Holtzclaw pulled Ligons over as she drove home from a friend’s house and forced her to give him oral sex. Holtzclaw was convicted of several charges related to that assault.
A lawsuit Ligons has filed against Oklahoma City claims that in spite of the investigation beginning 8 May, the department ‘left him working as a police officer without supervision or monitoring.’
‘The City of Oklahoma City was negligent in that…the City was aware of some, if not all the assaults, weeks prior to the Plaintiff’s assault’ by Holtzclaw, the lawsuit reads. ‘The City knew or had reason to know of the dangerous activities of its servant.’ Ligons is suing for $75,000.
Ligons filed the suit before Holtzclaw’s trial began, but it was put on hold during his criminal trial. Ligons’ attorney Benjamin Crump—a notable civil rights attorney who also represented Trayvon Martin’s family—said that this would be the first of many lawsuits showing that both the city and police department acted too slowly. “We understand that there were other women who called before [Ligons], whose calls went unanswered,” Crump said in a press conference.
During Holtzclaw’s trial, an Oklahoma City detective testified that one of the women—identified only as TM—reported her assault on May 24, 2014, weeks before Holtzclaw attacked Ligons. Ligons reported her assault the same day of the crime; “He just picked the wrong lady to stop that night,” she said.
Holtzclaw’s conviction comes on the heels of an Associated Press report that found nearly 1,000 police officers had been fired over a period of six years for crimes ranging from rape to sexual assault and possession of child pornography.
Image via AP.