After four days of deliberation, last night (December 10) a jury decided the fate of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw has been on trial since November, charged with 36 counts of first-degree rape, second-degree rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, procuring lewd exhibition, indecent exposure, burglary and stalking.
The 12 women (and one teenager) who brought charges against him are all Black, ranging in age from 17 to 58. During their testimonies, they shared frighteningly similar stories: Holtzclaw approached them while on duty, assaulted them, then used his position to intimidate them into staying quiet. Prosecutors argued that Holtzclaw, who is White and Japanese, systematically sought out Black women in poor areas. Meanwhile his attorneys attempted to discredit the survivors, highlighting some of the women’s criminal records for drug abuse and prostitution. Learn more about the women’s interactions with Holtzclaw in their own words via this this Buzzfeed story.
Local station KOCO reports that the all-White jury found him guilty on 18 of the charges, including five of the eight rape charges. The verdict comes as a surprise for many, who doubted that the jury would place enough value on the lives of Black women to find Holtzclaw guilty. Journalist Shaun King wrote about it for the New York Daily News:
Sadly, race still very much matters in America and it’s just not hard for any African American to imagine a jury primarily made up of white men setting free a popular white football star turned officer accused of such heinous crimes.
The jury recommended that Holtzclaw serve 263 years in prison for his crimes. The judge will hand down final sentencing on January 21, 2016.