For Immediate Release
Statement of Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger on Holtzclaw Sentencing
NEW YORK - On January 21, 2016, Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison for the sexual assaults of eight African American women. Holtzclaw committed the attacks while he was a police officer and used his position to facilitate the crimes. Ms. Foundation President and CEO Teresa C. Younger issued the following statement:
“Today the court in Oklahoma sent a message to the rest of our country: Law enforcement officers are not above the law.
“The actions of Daniel Holtzclaw intentionally selecting his victims in one of Oklahoma City's poorest neighborhoods based on their criminal histories, assuming their records would undermine any claims they might make against him have not only damaged the lives of those women but their communities. This verdict reminds us of the work we must do as a society to dismantle stereotypes that promote victim blaming and discredit the experiences and needs of entire communities of women.
“We hope that the verdict in this case encourages other courts to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions and listen when women report violent crimes regardless of their history or the position of their attacker. By protecting police officers who kill and rape we are accepting a broken system of oppression that disproportionately impacts women, particularly women of color. Today we stand with the victims and families affected by Holtzclaw’s actions, including those who have not had their day in court and encourage our justice system to protect those who need it most.”
For more than 40 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has secured women's rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color. The foundation invests funds, time, expertise and training in trailblazing organizations nationwide.