OKLAHOMA CITY — A former Oklahoma City police officer denied he sexually assaulted a woman he stopped for a traffic violation, telling detectives he had no idea why she would accuse him.
Daniel Holtzclaw, 28, told detectives sexual misconduct allegations against him were "scary." He worried they would ruin his reputation, which he said is everything in law enforcement.
“I’ve heard of officers going through this,” he said during a recorded interview. “This is something I don’t want my rep to be about. I’m a good officer. That’s not me.”
Holtzclaw, who grew up in Enid, faces three dozen charges stemming from allegations he coerced 13 women to expose themselves, that he touched them inappropriately or that he forced them to have sex during 2013 and 2014. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a trial that began this week, prosecutors have painted Holtzclaw as a bad cop who, using the protection of his badge, preyed upon addicts, prostitutes and troubled women in the areas he patrolled in northeast Oklahoma City.
The roughly two-hour interrogation was conducted just hours after a woman approached Oklahoma City police officers in June 2014, claiming she was sexually molested during an early morning traffic stop.
The interview, played for jurors in court Thursday, marked the first publicly aired comments from Holtzclaw about the allegations against him.
Holtzclaw had just shown up for a police shift when he was whisked to headquarters for questioning. In the video, he’s seen wearing his uniform and calmly sitting in a chair, his hands lightly clasped on his lap, as he answers dozens of questions and repeats the same version of the story several times.
Holtzclaw's account of his encounter with the woman is pretty much the same that she related in court earlier this week — minus the sexual abuse, which he said never happened.
The former officer told detectives he was on his way home in his patrol car when he stopped the woman for driving erratically just blocks from the state Capitol. Though he determined that she was not intoxicated, as he first suspected, he learned the woman didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
But, because he was already off shift, he let her go with a warning.
Holtzclaw vehemently denied he made the woman expose her breasts, that he touched her buttocks and that he forced her to perform oral sex. He told detectives he had no idea why she would accuse him of such a thing.
In the video, Holtzclaw also denied coming into contact — or even knowing — a second woman whom police alleged he also sexually abused.
Holtzclaw was placed on paid leave when he was charged last year. Oklahoma City Police Department fired him in January.