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Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty (America)

Residents say assault case erodes trust in police

Associated Press
By TIM TALLEY
August 23, 2014 5:56 PM


Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty
Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Residents of a neighborhood where an Oklahoma City officer is accused of sexually assaulting women said Saturday the allegations make them distrust police.

Investigators say Policeman Daniel Ken Holtzclaw raped one woman and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves. They say this cop made others perform sex acts on him.

The women were all black and between the ages of 34 and 58, but it's not clear if race played a role in the alleged crimes. Police documents show that some were picked up off the street, while others were assaulted after being pulled over for traffic stops.

Formal charges against the police officer could come by Friday.

"I'm already scared of them anyway," 34-year-old Seantah Graham said of police.

She pushed her 1-year-old daughter across a lightly traveled boulevard in the racially mixed, working-class neighborhood of modest brick homes and small, mostly well-maintained yards.

"They've pretty much got power in the palm of their hand. And it's your word against theirs," Graham added.

Another resident, Tammy Bell, 45, said the officer was "taking advantage of his shield" when he allegedly assaulted the women. Bell said she and others in the neighborhood on the city's northeast side had heard rumors about the alleged crimes weeks before Holtzclaw was arrested.

Because of the "Blue Wall of Silence" where cops ignore or help criminal cops continue to do criminal acts.
Police were slow to react, she said.

"They didn't want to think it was the police doing all this. They kind of laid it to the side," Bell said.

The investigation began -- and Holtzclaw was immediately placed on leave -- when police said a woman complained in June that Holtzclaw had sexually assaulted her during a traffic stop on a boulevard about two miles north of the state Capitol. The alleged incident prompted police to check other contacts Holtzclaw had with the public since beginning street patrols about 18 months ago.

Officers identified seven victims and eight incidents before accusing Holtzclaw of crimes including rape, sexual battery and indecent exposure.
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