An Oklahoma police officer has been accused of sexually assaulting at least seven women.
Daniel Ken Holtzclaw was arrested Thursday on a probable cause warrant after allegedly raping one woman and possibly forcing others to perform sexual acts on him. The police chief said all of the victims have been black women between ages 34 and 58.
Police detectives began their investigation after a woman complained to the police on June 18. He was placed on administrative leave.
He is currently being held on a $5 million bond. It is unclear whether he has an attorney yet.
Oklahoma Police Chief Bill Citty said they started by looking at the traffic stops he made over the course of the previous months. Then, they tried to initiate contact with the women to see if they had been sexually assaulted.
Holtzclaw is a three-year veteran to the police force. He had not previously been subject to disciplinary action. Police said he stopped his victims during routine traffic stops during his patrol from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., then, sometimes, he would attack his victims at the scene of the stop or lead them to a remote location before assaulting them. He threatened to arrest them if they did not comply.
The first victim to come forward was a 57-year-old grandmother who said Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sex.
"She was really, really fragile," said Alitia Timmons, the woman's representative. "She was scared to leave her house, when she was driving and she saw a police officer drive by, it would terrorize her and she has been piecing herself together."
Citty has published Holtzclaw's photograph, and said he hope other women who have been sexually assaulted will step forward. There have already been six other women identified.
"We kind of anticipate there may be more victims out there because this goes back to February - February was the earliest that we have here, through June," Citty said. "If there's anyone that was victimized by this officer, we certainly want to hear from them."
District Attorney David Prater said the formal charges could be filed by Aug. 29.
It is unclear whether the women, all black, were targeted because of their race.
Police spokesman Capt. Dexter Nelson said Holtzclaw's colleagues were upset at the allegations against a fellow police officer.
"Most of us see it as a black eye to our profession and our department," he said.