Family and friends support former EMU football star accused of rape

(WXYZ) - Daniel Holtzclaw played football for Eastern Michigan University, then joined the Oklahoma City Police Department where he now faces charges of sexually assaulting women while working as a patrol officer.

The OKC department says 27-year-old Holtzclaw preyed on at least seven African-Amercian women, taking them to remote location after making them pull-over for traffic stops.

Holtclaw has been charged with first degree rape, sexual battery and indecent exposure. He’s being held on $5 million bond.

Now, there’s an effort to help Holtclaw through social media and the webpage GoFundMe.  Daniel’s sister Jenny created the page and so far has raised $7,000 in three days towards a goal of $100K for her brother’s defense fund.

And on a Facebook page with 350 friends supporting Hotzlclaw, “Free the Claw” shirts in EMU green and white are offered for a donation.

Barbara Niess-May, Executive Director of SafeHouse, a home that shelters sexually abused victims, worries the victims that have come forward may back out after seeing the social media support, possibly jeopardizing the case.

Daniel's family writes in the social media support pages that he joined the police force after graduating from EMU with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and he deserves the presumption of innocence.  OKC police say they believe there are more victims, and are calling on them to come forward.

Holtzclaw is suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

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