Oklahoma ex-policeman guilty of raping 13 black women
A jury in the United States has found a former Oklahoma City police officer guilty of rape and sexual battery.
Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, was charged with sexually assaulting and raping 13 African-American women, according to Reuters.
“I didn’t do it,” said Holtzclaw, who broke down in tears on Thursday when the guilty verdict was read. He was found guilty of 18 of the 36 charges, including four of the six rape charges.
He is likely to be sentenced in January next year and could face life in prison.
Earlier this week, a large number of protesters gathered outside the court and called on the jury to convict the officer based on the physical evidence and the word of the women.
The 13 black women testified before the jury about how they were raped by the officer.
Prosecutors said Holtzclaw targeted women when he came across them while patrolling. He went after those women who had outstanding warrants, previous arrests or were in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
“He exercised authority on those society doesn’t care about,” Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger said in closing arguments on Monday.
Hundreds of US police officers have lost their jobs over sexual offenses such as rape and possession of child pornography during the past few years, according to a recent study.
The study, carried out by the Associated Press, examined official data from 41 states to determine how many police officers were fired between 2009 and 2014 and for what reasons.
The AP said the findings together with other research and interviews with experts, suggest that sexual misconduct is one of the main forms of complaints against US police departments.
News articles between 2005 and 2011 showed a total of 6,724 arrests involving more than 5,500 officers. They showed that sex-related cases were the third most prevalent in numbers, preceded by violence and profit-motivated crimes.