Janie Liggins, a 57-year-old grandmother whose complaint against former Oklahoma Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, led to his conviction on rape, broke her silence on Friday.
Detailing her assault in a press conference, Liggins said the former officer pulled her over without cause and forced her to perform oral sex. Liggins told reporters she was so afraid during the incident, she didn’t look at Holtzclaw’s badge because she was scared he would kill her if she knew his name.
Prosecutors argued Holtzclaw targeted low-income Black women with criminal records because he believed they would not speak out. But as Liggins explained, “He picked the wrong lady.”
“I was out there alone and helpless, and in my mind, all I could think was that he was going to shoot me,” Liggins said. “I came forward because I didn’t want to see this happen to no one else.”
— CNN (@CNN) December 11, 2015
Immediately following her assault, Liggins said she went to police, who began investigating Holtzclaw. They uncovered 12 additional victims and ended up charging the former officer with 36 separate crimes ranging from first degree rape and sodomy, to indecent exposure.
Holtzclaw was convicted on 18 of the 36 counts, and a jury recommended he receive 263 years in prison. A judge will formally sentence him on January 21.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing five of the victims, admonished the national media for its lack of coverage around the Holtzclaw trial.
“What is it about these women? What is it about them? Why are they unworthy of national media attention?” he asked. “Where is the disdain? Where is the contempt? Where is the national outcry for their equal justice?”
Echoing the thoughts of many others, Crump said the coverage would have been different if Holtzclaw’s victims were white.
— britni danielle (@BritniDWrites) December 11, 2015
“We’re here to declare Black women’s lives matter too,” Crump added.
One victims’ advocate openly challenged the media, saying, “I appreciate you being here, but where are you going to be tomorrow when more women come forward?”