In the wake of a pivotal national movement against rape and sexual harassment, nine Louisville, Kentucky, women have come forward–accusing former Louisville Metro Police officer, Pablo Cano, of rape.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who previously defended the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown, has come forth as legal counsel for the nine accusers, WDRB reports. The women were also under the representation of Shannon Fauver, one of the Louisville lawyers who fought to legalize gay marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This officer violated their trust in the entire system when he coerced them when they were most vulnerable,”Crump said. “We declare Louisville, Kentucky, will be Ground Zero in the “Me Too” movement, of women being violated by these rogue police officers.”
Crump’s forewarning in reference to the #MeToo movement is important, but this watershed moment has struggled with acknowledging the experiences of women of color who have historically suffered in silence with their own accounts of sexual assault, harassment and violation.
Last week, a fourth women came forward to file a lawsuit against Cano, accusing him of forcing himself on her after he pulled her over during a traffic stop.
All of the victims have remained anonymous with the moniker of “Jane Doe,” but in July 2017 one woman came forward in an interview with WDRB to give details of her harrowing account.
“He grabbed the back of my head and slammed me against the door jam,” she recalled in the interview. “I knew if I went to the hospital, I would have to go through an exam, because I was bleeding. [It] would have been horrific. I knew they would call the police, and I didn’t trust whoever showed up to keep me safe.”
Cano stepped down from his position in September amongst the allegations, but has yet to be charged. An investigative report conducted by WDRB found that between 2014-2017, Cano reported previous drug use that prevented him from being hired by six police departments in Florida, including Miami, Miami-Dade, Coral Gables and Aventura.
The accusations against Cano are eerily similar to former disgraced officer, Daniel Holtzclaw, who was convicted of in December 2015 of multiple counts of rape, sexual battery and oral sodomy. Crump was the lead attorney on the case–leading to Holtzclaw’s sentencing to 263 years in prison.