Woman who spoke out against Oklahoma cop honored by Delta Sigma Theta


“Celebration of Women”

11:30 a.m. April 2. Tickets are $70. Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, 1 Hartsfield Centre Parkway. www.atlantaalumnaedst.org/cow2016.

This fundraising event benefits scholarship recipients and provides funding for the Delta Sigma Theta’s social action programs that include the Betty Shabazz Academy, the Delta GEMS, and the EMBODI project (for young men).

Jannie Ligons thought her life would end one night in 2015 when she was stopped and sexually assaulted at gunpoint by a then-Oklahoma City police officer.

Her complaint set off an investigation that uncovered about a dozen other rapes or sexual assaults of black women committed by Daniel Holtzclaw, who was later fired from his job and sentenced to 263 years in prison for a series of assaults.

“Yes, it took a lot of courage, but it was something I just had to do,” said the 59-year-old grandmother of 12. “I feel very vindicated and I’m glad the jury reached a verdict.”

She had hoped he would get life for his crimes. However, “he got 263 years and that was awesome. It was a blessing. God is good.”

Ligons will be in Atlanta on April 2 to receive the Fortitude Award given by the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority during its annual "Celebration of Women" luncheon.

Ligons said it didn’t occur to her to hide what happened to her. She’s undergone months of therapy.

By speaking out, she likely prevented other women from being attacked.

“A lot of women have come to me to say they appreciate what I did … they say I did a good deed,” Ligons said.

Ligons, who was stopped as she was driving home from a night out with friends, has said she saw her life pass before her eyes. She was afraid to look at his name because “‘If I know his name, I know he’s going to kill me.’ So that I didn’t do.”

After the incident happened, Ligons said, she prayed.

She talked to her daughter. They prayed together on the drive to the police station.

Investigators found other victims through records of the background checks Holtzclaw, who was later fired, had requested and corroborated their claims through the GPS locator in his squad car, according to The Associated Press.


Former Oklahoma police officer faces multiple counts of rape, sodomy, more

Today, Ligons feels better because she didn’t hide what happened, she spoke out.

She has a message for other women: It doesn’t matter whether or not your attacker wears a police uniform. “He has no more right than anybody else. Just tell your story. It doesn’t matter. No one has the right to do this to anyone. Right is right and wrong is wrong. He was very wrong. Tell it.”