If people claim to know one thing about the Daniel Holtzclaw case, it's that he used his position as a police officer to target and prey upon the most vulnerable within our society. Specifically, black females with a history of drug addiction and/or prostitution.
And how do we know this? Because investigators, prosecutors, activists groups and the media continually forward that assertion into the public discussion.
And this assertion has been accepted by a public who has never once questioned its origin. And really, why would they? All thirteen accusers who resulted in criminal charges against Holtzclaw are indeed black females. All but one of the accusers has a recent criminal history, or self-disclosure, related to drug addiction or prostitution.
But, that very question - "Where did the 'perfect victim' profile come from?" - is one of the very first questions I asked myself when I agreed to be a part of the Daniel Holtzclaw defense team.
If indeed Holtzclaw was guilty, then a victim profile would certainly be expected. But doubting the 'perfect victim' profile isn't a matter of believing in Holtzclaw's guilt or innocence. I question the 'perfect victim' profile because of how quickly it emerged in the investigation and how little credible evidence there was to support it.
The Foundation for Labeling Holtzclaw a 'Serial Predator'
Within only a couple of hours of Jannie Ligons' initial complaint, on June 18, 2014, OKC Police Sex Crimes Detectives Kim Davis and Rocky Gregory had already determined that Holtzclaw was a serial rapist.
That entire theory hinged on the notion that a previous complaint, filed by Terri Morris on May 24, 2014, was also a sexual assault victim of Holtzclaw. Morris is described in court documents as a perpetually homeless black female who is addicted to crack and suffers from mental illness.
Det. Gregory notes in his investigative file that he worked the Morris complaint and that he shared his notes with Det. Davis on the day Ligons made her allegations against Holtzclaw.
Det. Gregory notes how Morris' complaint also implicates Holtzclaw. Though Morris never names Holtzclaw in her allegations, Det. Gregory claims her assailant must have been Holtzclaw because Holtzclaw was the last person to run Morris through police computers prior to her alleged sexual assault and he matches the description Morris gave of her attacker.
What Det. Gregory chooses to ignore is the fact that, up to that point, Morris claims that she had never had contact with her attacker previously, her attack happened in downtown Oklahoma City around on May 20th or 21st, her attacker drove an older style patrol car, only pretended to run her through the police computer database, and key elements of her description of her attacker included; 40-years old or older with dark skin.
This is important because Det. Gregory also knew at that point that Holtzclaw could not have assaulted Morris on or around the May 20/21 dates she claims, Holtzclaw had previously completed a report on Morris for destruction of property on Sept. 9, 2013, Holtzclaw drove a very distinctive newer model patrol car, Holtzclaw actually did run Morris through the police computers, Holtzclaw's last contact with Morris was in a completely different part of OKC and Holtzclaw is in his 20's with a pale complexion. However, Det. Gregory not once allowed any of those facts to deter him from pursuing Holtzclaw as a serial rapist. It should be noted that Holtzclaw was later found not guilty of Morris' allegations.
Additionally, Ligons' sexual assault allegations should have become less credible with investigators once it was revealed that her version of events, unlike Holtzclaw's, was not supported by the forensic evidence and no evidence of sexual assault was found during her rape exam.
Regardless, less than 24-hours after Ligons' allegations, Holtzclaw was deemed a serial predator. This premature assertion was only reinforced by the discovery of tiny amounts of female DNA on Holtzclaw's uniform pants. DNA investigators never sought to confirm was from sexual contact - as Holtzclaw's pants were never tested for the presence of saliva, semen or vaginal secretion.
All detectives needed to do now to complete their narrative is to identify Holtzclaw's prey.
The 'Perfect Victim' Profile
By June 20, 2014, only 48-hours after Ligons' sexual assault complaint, investigators were compiling a list of potential victims of Daniel Holtzclaw to be interviewed.
According to investigative documents, the eventual 'Perfect Victim' profile was initiated by Oklahoma City Police Lieutenant Timothy Muzny - who oversees the Sex Crimes Unit.
Multiple documents note how, "Lt. Muzny gave me a list of several females that he wanted contacted because they could be possible victims of officer Holtzclaw." Other documents state, "[insert female's name] also matched a possible profile set aside by Lt. Muzny." Specifically the words "profile" and "list" are used over and over again without even the slightest hint at a reasonable foundation.
At no time do any investigative documents indicate an experienced or trained profiler was utilized to come up with potential 'victims' of Daniel Holtzclaw.
On the contrary, the method to determine a profile and compile a list of potential victims was rudimentary at best.
Investigative documents indicate that Lt. Muzny simply had investigators compile a list of every female Daniel Holtzclaw had run through the various police computer databases (Unit 800, CIU, Varuna, etc.) during a set period of time.
The resulting all encompassing list of potential victims proved to be overwhelming.
Investigative documents and court testimony reveal that, without explanation, Lt. Muzny had the initial list reduced to black females with a history of recent drug or prostitution arrests - even though Ligons herself doesn't even fit this profile as she has no convictions or history of drug or alcohol related incidents with police beyond a single arrest in the 1980's for being inside a residence that was manufacturing drugs.
Additionally, at least one secondary list was compiled of females Holtzclaw had run through his database while in the immediate area of a vacant school yard near NE 18th and Miramar.
Investigative documents go on to reveal that 55 individuals were interviewed by detectives. The results of those investigations are as follows...
- 55 total interviews.
- 35 females claimed they were not victimized by Holtzclaw.
- 19 females claimed they were victimized by Holtzclaw.
- 1 male claimed to have been victimized by Holtzclaw.
- 98% of those interviewed were black females.
Of the 20 individuals that claimed to have been victimized by Holtzclaw, 7 of them (including the one male) were deemed not credible and recanted their allegations when confronted with evidence they were lying. One alleged victim, Shaneice Barksdale, would not initially recant and was eventually charged with and convicted of falsely reporting a crime.
Of Holtzclaw's 20 total accusers, 7 were deemed to have been lying early on in the investigation and five more were found not to be credible at trial by jurors. That means that at this point we know 12 total accusers made false allegations against Holtzclaw - a full 60%. That 60% number doesn't even include the accuser whom Holtzclaw was convicted of that swore under oath her attacker was a short black man, or the multiple accusers whose testimony did not match Holtzclaw's patrol car GPS/AVL.
Of the 55 total interviews from the two compiled lists, only two individuals were non-black females (one Caucasian, one Hispanic).
Debunking the 'Perfect Victim' Profile
As you can see, from the very beginning, Daniel Holtzclaw was labeled a serial predator after only one seemingly credible accuser came forward - Jannie Ligons.
From there a profile was created out of thin air by the Oklahoma City Police Department's Sex Crimes Unit - a profile that didn't even match the catalyst accuser.
Keep in mind that only three of the 13 accusers that eventually resulted in criminal charges came forward on their own (Morris, Ligons, Shardayreon Hill). Of those three, Holtzclaw was found not guilty of the allegations of two of them (Morris and Hill).
That means that 77% of the accusers were the result of police only questioning women who appeared on their infamous 'list' of only black females with a history of drugs or prostitution.
Even if you want to believe that Daniel Holtzclaw is a serial predator, you can't legitimately claim he profiled "black females with a history of drugs or prostitution" when you intentionally only interviewed black females with a history of drugs or prostitution and based that profile on absolutely nothing.
For all investigators know, there are dozens of non-black female victims of Daniel Holtzclaw that they never bothered to seek out.
Which begs the questions.... Why did investigators choose the profile they did, why did they never seek potential victims outside of their predetermined profile and what prompted them to stop looking for potential victims at some point?
It is my firm belief that questions two and three only support the fact that investigators knew that their initial profile would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Investigators, prosecutors, the media and activist groups are all ringing the bell of "marginalized black women with addictions and criminal histories make for the perfect victims," because of their reluctance to report crimes against them and a public that is less than sympathetic to their plight. I'd argue the case is often the opposite. If you approach several poor, drug addicted women who are often so desperate that they literally sell themselves, they'll have little to no regard to the selling out of an innocent man if it is a means to an end. What end? A redefining of their lifelong criminality into "the perfect victim." Positive attention from law enforcement. A desire to help others they assume must be real victims regardless of their own false assertions. And, of course, the oldest motive known to man - money. To date 12 of the 13 accusers have all filed civil lawsuits seeking big cash payouts potentially into the millions of dollars.
I'd argue without apology that these women do not represent "the perfect victims." Instead, they represent "the perfect accusers" during a time in our society where political correctness trumps credibility and tension between the black community and police are at an all time high.