An Oklahoma City police officer was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually assaulting black women in his patrol area, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, a former star football player for Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., was on patrol when he encountered the victims, including three who were assaulted in his car and one who was taken to a school in the Spring Lake Division where he worked, investigators said, according to the report.
So far, officers have identified seven possible victims, all black women between the ages of 34 and 58, the Free Press reports, citing the arrest affidavit. Investigators fear there could be more victims and hope they will come forward. While announcing the arrest Thursday at a news conference, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty released a photograph of Holtzclaw.
The department began investigating Holtzclaw after a woman complained to police June 18, the Free Press says. The officer was immediately placed on leave.
It is unclear, police say, whether the women were targeted because of their race.
“Did he feel that these people were so disenfranchised that they could be thrown away because no one would care about their safety?” said Democratic state Sen. Connie Johnson, who represents the area in which the crimes allegedly occurred, the Free Press reports.
Holtzclaw, who played college football at 6-foot-1, 246 pounds, has three years on the force. The investigation continues, and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater told the Free Press that formal charges could be filed by Aug. 29.
Read more at the Detroit Free Press.