Former Oklahoma City Police officer Daniel Holtzclaw will be going to prison for a very, very long time. After deliberating for well over 45 hours, an all-white jury returned a mixed bag of guilty and not guilty verdicts as Holtzclaw sobbed openly.
If you're unfamiliar with the case, I recommend Buzzfeed's excellent interviews with the victims. The pattern was clear. Holtzclaw targeted Black women who lived in high crime neighborhoods and victimized them, either by raping them or forcing them to perform oral sex. Here are a few excerpts of their accounts.
S.H. testified that Holtzclaw then exposed himself and forced her into oral sodomy, telling her to not move too much so that her heart monitor wouldn’t go off. Afterward, she asked if she was going to jail — he responded that he had to take her to jail. She asked him to call her mom for her. After the call, which he made on his cell phone, Holtzclaw allegedly groped S.H.’s genitalia.
T.B. said she was put in the backseat of Holtzclaw’s patrol car, where she watched as her friend was allowed to go back into the house after a few minutes and the other officer drove off. She admitted to Holtzclaw she had outstanding tickets. She had been through this routine before, she said.
He spoke to me and told me I wasn’t going to jail. [He asked did] I have any drugs under my shirt, and I said, no. And he asked could he see, so I lifted my shirt up and let him see.
I knew if I didn’t I was going to jail.
R.C. testified that Holtzclaw then raped her for five or ten minutes. He let her go, and she went to her brother’s house.
I didn’t tell him everything that happened, but I asked him a question. I said, ‘Does a police have the right to ask a woman to pull her clothes down without another officer being there, a woman officer?’ And he told me he didn’t know.
But she didn’t tell her brother the whole story.
Because I was ashamed. I’ve been a victim. I’ve been molested as a child by a minister in my church. I’ve been raped a couple of times. So I was just ashamed and I didn’t want to face the rape. I didn’t want to face it.
Go read them all. It's disgusting.
Here's something else that's sad. Until those verdicts were read in open court, the Black women I was following on Twitter were gripped with fear that he'd get away with it. Because that's what usually happens in these cases.
Reaction to the verdicts was swift:
Justice is a nice thing. It just doesn't seem to happen often enough. Props to this jury for struggling through all 36 counts and doing their best to arrive at honest verdicts.
Update: From the OKC Police Department, via Buzzfeed News:
And the exact number of counts he was convicted on: