I just really can’t believe it because it’s the police. And I thought stuff like that only just really happened on movies. I couldn’t believe what was going on was really going on.
I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of Daniel Holtzclaw. You would think a story about an ex-cop being charged with sexually assaulting 13 women, aged 17 to 58, would be big national news but it was hard to find mention of it on any national news networks. Until yesterday that is, when he was found guilty on 18 of the 36 counts. The jury recommended a total of 263 years of prison time for Holtzclaw’s crimes.
Holtzclaw targeted his victims for their skin color and their criminal histories. Most were battling drug or prostitution charges and all were black so he figured no one would listen or believe them. Why wouldn’t he think he’d get away with it? All women have trouble getting authorities to listen and believe their stories of rape and assault, it’s even worse for black women.
I know that like I’ve been in trouble before, so I mean like, who am I to a police officer?
During the trial the defense argued the usual for these kinds of charges. The sex acts we consensual, Holtclaw is an upstanding, ethical citizen and servant of the public, the victims had a history of criminal activity and lying, and finally, the entire community hated him so of course they would try to hurt him with false rape accusations. Holtzclaw did not take the stand in his defense.
I admit I did not expect a conviction. The jury was all white and mostly male and we all know how that goes. They deliberated for almost two days, which didn’t feel like a good sign. I would’ve bet against a conviction and I tell you today I have never been happier to be wrong. I wish he could have been found guilty on all of the charges and I hope the women who’s assaults he was found not guilty of can still find some closure in knowing this man will (hopefully) go to prison for the rest of his shitty life.
But then I thought, then again, you know, who are they going to believe? It’s my word against his because I’m a woman and, you know, like I said, he’s a police officer. So I just left it alone and just prayed that I never saw this man again, run into him again, you know.
When I saw the video of him rocking back and forth and sobbing as the judge read the verdict I couldn’t help feeling a little joy in his suffering. I could tell he never thought that this would happen. He never believed he would actually be caught, let alone charged and convicted. He never thought there would be real consequences. He thought he could do whatever he wanted because of that damn badge. I imagine the whole thing feels surreal to him. I hope his whole world is crumbling and I hope he cries for a very long time. I wish him all the misery possibly and I refuse to feel bad for it. This man deserves far worse than he will get.
I saw many wishing that he suffers the same treatment as his victims did. I draw the line there. As someone who fights to end rape culture I have to advise against this sort of talk. We cannot pick and choose when rape is and isn’t okay. Instead I hope he never finds peace or happiness the rest of his days. I hope he suffers in his own guilt and the knowledge that he has been the worst kind of human being possible. I hope he knows he can never be redeemed.
I am happy about this conviction but I do wish that more victims could find the justice they deserve. According to RAINN only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison. It’s next to zero if you only include the assaults of Black Women. I hope that the other officers out there abusing their power in this way (we know they are out there) see that this is not okay. I hope they see that things are changing and People of Color are not going to stay silent.
I hope that Holzclaw’s victims, and all victims of sexual assault and rape, continue to move toward a place of peace and healing.
My thoughts are with you all, always.
Quotes from the victims via Buzzfeed