Amidst all of the police brutality headlines that dominated the mainstream media over the past 2 years, one story has strangely not received as much attention as the others, despite it’s horrific details. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is currently on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting 13 women over a 7 month span. Aside from the commonality of being Black, the women whose ages range from 17 to 57, all live a poverty stricken area of the city.
Many of the accusers stated that they remained silent for fear of retribution, but the flood gates opened when one of the eldest of the victims came forward. Holtzclaw was placed on Administrative leave and later arrested in January 2015 when GPS tracking devices were used to corroborate the accusers stories.
The trial has officially came to close and a jury of 8 men and 4 women, all of whom white, began deliberations. Despite Oklahoma City being 40% minority, observers are concerned about heightened chances for a not guilty verdict. This after 3 Black men were removed from the jury panel.
Holtzclaw faces life in prison for 36 felony charges of rape, sexual battery, burglary, and forcible oral sodomy. The victims who took the stand during the trial are all suspected of prostitution and drug use, something Holtzclaw’s defense attorney’s used to sway jurors, stating that they are not trustworthy.
Some of the victims cited that Holtzclaw assaulted them in their homes while wearing the department issued uniform. One of the accusers told the court that she was forced to perform sex acts on the side of a road after being pulled over, while another shared that she was violated while handcuffed to hospital bed. These are just a few of the deplorable accusations levied against the officer.
The last accuser to testify was only 17 when, she said, Holtzclaw raped her on her mother’s porch just after dark. The officer first told her he needed to search her for drugs, she testified. He first groped her under her clothes before pushing his fingers into her vagina, she said, then he unzipped the fly of his trousers and raped her.