Many people are unfamiliar with the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, a White police officer who for over a long period of time had raped 13 Black women in the city of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, until he was apprehended on June 18, 2014 for raping a Black woman who was named as J.L. Holtzclaw targeted black women, and poor black women only. There were plenty of middle class and educated black women living on the East side of OKC where he attacked his victims, but Holtzclaw specifically preyed on women he knew wouldn’t be believed, women who had no one to speak up for them.
Women whom anti-Black woman America would not care for.
Major aspects of this case come to mind.
The dehumanization of Black women. The creation by racist White men of the Myth of the Unrapeble Black Woman. The convictions of White men accused of rape and/or murder of Black women, which can be counted on one hand in the last 400 years of this nation’s attack upon the humanity, safety and womanhood of Black American women.
Holtzclaw’s case is so muted and silent in the sexualized gendered narrative of America’s racist meme towards Black women, that many people are surprised to hear of the case this late date in June 2016.
But, it should have been front page news when it broke on the few newswires that carried it.
Since so little is often said about the abuse and cruelties Black women and girls suffer at the hands of LEOs, one would think that Black women suffer no ill effects of racism in this nation, but, one would be wrong.
Black women have suffered a long history of defilement, degradation, denial of their personhood and destruction at the hands of racism and sexism, especially when these atrocities come at hands of those who have sworn to “protect and serve” the citizens they are to keep from harm.
Now that this case has come and gone to trial, those who have fought to bring it to light and feared another repeat of the centuries of callous disregard towards Black women can rest easy in that their vigilance in seeing justice for these women has occurred.
Before the trial commenced, the court had seated an all-white jury: eight men and four women.
I wondered how many strikes were used to eliminate any and all potential Black jurors from deciding the case.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe me,” she said. “I’m a black female.”
I wondered if the all-white jury would look at the evidence, and understand what was presented to them by the prosecutor and defense attorney, and comprehend the laws pertaining to the crimes the accused is charged with, as well as for once in this nation’s history, look past the background, and prior criminal record, the poverty, and the race and color of the victims, and just once—–just once—give them justice.
It remained to me in how this jury will comport themselves.
Will it be more of the same ol’ same ol’?
They are just Black women, so why give a damn about them?
They are just Black women, so trample on them and grind them into the dust?
They are just Black women, so to hell with them?
I was in fear that the all-white jury would turn its back on the Black women victims, but, I for once was surprised that the jury saw right in giving justice to these 13 Black women.
For once, Black women victims of rape by a White man were not discounted. Not vilified. Not disbelieved.
Not considered unrapeable.
Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City Police Department police officer, was convicted in December 2015 of 18 of 36 counts of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, and other charges, receiving a sentence of 263 years in prison.
Holtzclaw’s conviction, mugshot, and incarceration location have been removed from the DOC’s site for safety.
The DOC tells Fox 25 their primary responsibility is the safety and security of offenders and then the public’s safety. Communications Director Terri Watkins said this is not an uncommon practice.
As a consequence of the removal, Hotlzclaw’s information was removed from the Victim’s Notification system, known as V.I.N.E., which is run by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office told Fox 25 the information provided to victims of crime comes from the Department of Corrections. The DOC said Holtzclaw’s victims will be notified if he is released. However, Holtzclaw’s sentence would not allow for such a release.
Watkins said she was not certain of the state law that allows for the removal of inmates from the publicly accessible database, but that it was most recently done with former State Representative Randy Terrill. However, Terrill’s information, including his mug shot and charges remains online as of the publication of this story. Terrill’s incarceration for bribery ended last year, but he remains on probation.
I am sure the usual trite and lame excuses for the removal will be trotted out that it was for his safety since he was a former LEO, but, that does little to show respect towards his many victims. If Holtzclaw did not want to end up in prison, he should have thought more of the humanity and womanhood of the 13 known Black women he raped and viciously maltreated.
Justice was served for these 13 Black women, but it is a slap in the face to them that this thing is being protected by the very system that is supposed to be punishing him. If he were a Black officer accused of these crimes his face would be plastered all over the world, and he would not be put into administered segregation from the other inmates, so in that sense, these Black women victims are still being harmed by the kid glove treatment this creature has been given.
It is not often that Black women can receive justice in this nation that has for so long monstrously mistreated Black women, but for once the law and compassion ruled the day in the trial of Daniel Holtzclaw.
One tiny shining thread of hope ruled that day.
But, just for that one day alone.