All-White jury convicts white Oklahoma City cop of raping 13 black women

The jury may have been out for some time, but Daniel Holtzclaw now faces more than 260 years behind bars

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published December 11, 2015 1:49PM (EST)

Daniel Holtzclaw       (AP/Sue Ogrocki)
Daniel Holtzclaw (AP/Sue Ogrocki)

Late Thursday evening, a 28-year-old former Oklahoma City police officer was found guilty on charges of raping 13 African-American women while on-duty. An all-white jury convicted Daniel Holtzclaw on 18 counts of sexual battery, rape, forcible oral sodomy and other offenses. He had faced 36 felony counts. The sentences recommended by the jury on Thursday along with each guilty verdict add up to more than 260 years, KFOR reported.

Holztclaw's trial began on November 2, a day after a yearlong Associated Press investigation of sexual misconduct by state and local police, sheriff’s deputies, prison guards and school resource officers, uncovered about 1,000 officers who were fired between 2009 and 2014 for “rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.” Still, the Holztclaw case garnered little national media attention.

All 13 women testified against Holtzclaw during the trial. "I didn't think anyone would believe me. I'm a black female," one accuser testified, according to CNN.

Holztclaw was arrested in August 2014 and prosecutors said Holtzclaw preyed upon women in one of the city's poorest neighborhood, using his badge and uniform during traffic stops to force the victims to submit to an escalating level of crimes, from groping to rape. Holtzclaw, a 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds former Eastern Michigan football player, used threats of violence and arrest to secure his victims silence.

However, All 13 women told strikingly similar stories when they took the stand to testify — Holtzclaw threatened to arrest them on outstanding warrants or for possessing drug paraphernalia if they wouldn't perform sexual acts on him. One woman testified that Holtzclaw sexually violated her while she was handcuffed to a hospital bed, another testified that she was only 17 when Holtzclaw raped her on her mother’s porch.

Despite Oklahoma City having a nearly 40 percent barely-minority population, the Holtzclaw jury of eight men and four women was all-white. They deliberated for more than 40 hours over four days. That is longer than the jurors in the cases of George Zimmerman, OJ Simpson, Jodi Arias, Drew Peterson and Conrad Murray. Holtzclaw never took the stand in his own defense.

"We're gonna ask the judge to make sure that this defendant never sees the light of day," District Attorney David Prater said, announcing that he planned to ask that the sentences be served consecutively. Holtzclaw's formal sentencing will come in January.

Ina statement, the Oklahoma City Police Department said that it "is pleased with the jury's decision."

"It is obvious the jury took their responsibilities very seriously and considered every piece of evidence presented to them," the department said. "We are satisfied with the jury's decision and firmly believe justice was served."

Holtzclaw, who turned 29 on Thursday, has had his own campaign for justice, from the very beginning. His father is a lieutenant on the Enid Police Department and his family maintained a Facebook page to defend his innocence. His defense argued that some of the victims were high when the assaults took place and accused the woman of possessing "street-smart like you can't imagine" according to KFOR.

Watch: Former officer Daniel Holtzclaw sobs and shakes uncontrollably as he’s found guilty of raping 13 women while on duty

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Victims Speak Out After Ex-Oklahoma Cop Convicted Of Sex Crimes

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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