Justice Finally Served: Serial Rapist Cop Gets 263 Years In, Yes, These Here United States
In an exceedingly rare act of actual justice, serial rapist, predator and former Oklahoma cop Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, was sentenced Thursday to 263 years in prison for sexually assaulting eight poor black women while on patrol on the assumption he could get away with it because, as one of his victims testified, "he was a cop and I was a black woman." Last month, again surprisingly, an all-white, all-male jury found Holtzclaw guilty on 18 of 36 counts involving 13 women, convicting him on four first-degree rape counts and 14 other charges including sexual battery and forcible oral sodomy. When the guilty verdicts were announced in court, Holtzclaw broke down sobbing, declaring he'd done nothing wrong so what was the problem?
During the trial, prosecutors said Holtzclaw targeted particularly vulnerable women, often randomly stopping those who had outstanding warrants, history as sex workers and drug users, or other legitimate reasons to fear him. His lawyers tried to dismiss the testimony of all 13 women - one just 17 at the time, and another 57 - arguing they had "street smarts like you wouldn't believe" and were not, as advocates termed it, "little old church ladies" and "not the perfect victims." Still, jurors evidently accepted the women's claims that, in the words of one, "the trauma affected every aspect of my being - like I’m dying on the inside."
Given horrific national statistics on police violence - thousands of largely poor black people killed, assaulted or sexually abused each year and not a single officer convicted for a record 1,204 people killed in 2015 - many view Holtzclaw's conviction as a singular victory. At Thursday's sentencing, the judge further ruled all 263 years in prison run consecutively because "each victim deserves their own sentence to be served." “Thank God for those who do believe us," said Sharday Hill, a Holtzclaw victim. "No matter how powerful he was... he had no power to do what was done to us.”
Holtzclaw's conviction and sentencing offer a welcome, substantive answer to the plaintive query of one of his victims during her testimony: "What kind of police do you call on the police?" she asked. For now, one abusive scumbag down, a few thousand to go.