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Oklahoma City, police sued over convicted ex-officer

By SEAN MURPHY
Created: 03/07/2016 5:52 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Seven women involved in the criminal case against a former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of sexually assaulting women while on duty have filed a lawsuit accusing the city and its police force of failing to properly monitor the officer.

The federal civil rights lawsuit also alleges the city didn't adequately test or train Daniel Holtzclaw and didn't adequately investigate allegations of police abuse. The suit says the plaintiffs are among at least 14 women who Holtzclaw "stalked, stopped, arrested, and physically and sexually assaulted."

Holtzclaw, 29, was sentenced to 263 years in prison after being convicted of rape, sexual battery and other charges in December. The jury convicted him on counts involving eight of the 13 women who had accused him.

The lawsuit was originally filed Feb. 25 by five women, and then amended Friday to add two more. Holtzclaw was convicted on charges related to four of the women suing, but acquitted on charges connected to the other three plaintiffs.

Oklahoma City police spokesman Paco Balderrama said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit also cites allegations from a woman who was not among the 13 women in the criminal case but reported being assaulted in November 2013. Balderrama confirmed Monday that the women reported an assault, but said investigators determined nothing improper occurred.

"It was basically a use-of-force complaint," Balderrama said. "She did not report any type of sexual misconduct when she spoke to a supervisor about the incident."

The woman isn't a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, but she has filed a separate lawsuit against Holtzclaw and the city in state court.

The lawsuit also alleges police should have removed Holtzclaw from his patrol duties after he and several other officers were involved in the May 2013 death of Clifton Armstrong, who died following his arrest in Oklahoma City. Holtzclaw and three other officers were cleared by prosecutors in the Armstrong case after the state's medical examiner determined Armstrong's death was an accident caused by "acute methamphetamine toxicity."

The Associated Press highlighted Holtzclaw's case as part of a yearlong investigation into sexual misconduct by law enforcement, which found that about 1,000 officers in the U.S. lost their licenses for sex assault or other sexual misconduct over a six-year period.

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A look inside AP's investigation on officer sex misconduct: https://interactives.ap.org/2015/betrayed-by-the-badge/

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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