Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was just found guilty of rape and sexual battery on Thursday. Now, his sentence has been handed down, and he is coming to the harsh realization that being a police officer didn’t save him from the 263 year sentence that a jury just handed down to him.
Prosecutors said that Officer Holtzclaw preyed on women were know to police for having had run-ins with the department in the past. He then told them that if they were to report him, he would have them arrested on charges related to their past.
But Holtzclaw, 29, wasn’t feeling so aggressive on Thursday, when broke down in tears upon hearing the reading of the verdict.
He was convicted of raping 13 women, but was cleared of about half of the total 36 counts against him. He has not had his sentencing set for January, which could likely see him serving the massive sentence as what would amount to life in prison.
Protesters who gathered outside the court earlier this week, demanded that the all-white jury convict the officer based on the physical evidence and the word of the 13 black women, who testified about how they were sexually assaulted.
While the prosecution has easily characterized Holtzclaw as predator who sought victims living in poverty and with criminal histories that he could hold over their heads, the defense for the rapist cop has said that all of these women have independently invented these rape allegations against the shamed officer.
Holtzclaw, additionally is accused of targeting African American women specifically.
He had a pattern of looking for victims with criminal records or a history of drug use or sex work. This targeting continued for seven months while he worked the 4pm to 2am patrol, according to the Raw Story.
For all but one of his alleged victims, police investigators claim, Holtzclaw used his position on the force to run background checks for outstanding warrants or other means by which to coerce sex.
Prosecutors are now trying Holtzclaw for 36 counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and stalking, to which Holtzclaw has pleaded not guilty.
Holtzclaw’s new defense has aggressively called into question his accusers for nothing more than their marijuana use, or drinking. In one case, their “checkered past” was simply having a suspended drivers licenses.
One women’s abuse advocate said that, “officers count on no one believing the victim if she reports.”
Diane Wetendorf, the head of a counseling group in Chicago for female victims of police abuse, added that they “know that the word of a woman of color is likely to be worth even less than the word of a white woman to those who matter in the criminal justice system.”
“There was nothing that I could do,” one woman testified on Monday.
She says that Holtzclaw drove her to a field, then raping her in the back of his police cruiser.
Finally, he left her there to fend for herself. “He was a police officer and I was a woman,” she added.
Another victim, a 17-year-old girl, recalls that Holtzclaw raped her on her mother’s front porch.
She was threatened with arrest for a minor trespassing warrant if she reported the rape.
Another woman explained “I didn’t think that no one would believe me.”
The Associated Press added that she said, “I feel like all police will work together… What am I going to do? Call the cops? He was a cop.”
Holtzclaw does not dispute that he had encounters with any of these women, but he says that he never raped any of them, and they are all making it up.
Rachel Anspach, of the African American Policy Forum, says she thinks “it is a sign of progress that Holtzclaw’s case has actually gone to trial.
Historically, we’ve seen the justice system hasn’t protected black women from sexual assault.”