ABOMINABLE

An Oklahoma ex-cop was found guilty of raping or sexually assaulting eight black women

This post has been corrected.

Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer who just turned 29, was convicted of raping or sexually assaulting eight women from a poor and predominantly black neighborhood that he patrolled.

Today (Dec. 10) was the fourth day of jury deliberations. Holtzclaw openly cried in the courtroom as judge Timothy Henderson read the verdict, with the jury finding him guilty on 18 out of 36 counts involving eight of the 13 women (paywall) who testified against him. That included four counts of first-degree rape. The sentences recommended by the jury total 263 years. He will be sentenced Jan. 21.

The 6-foot-one, 260-pound man, whose father is white and mother Japanese, allegedly targeted women who had police records related to drug abuse, prostitution, or petty crimes. The women ranged from a 17-year-old to a 57-year-old grandmother. Their testimonies are consistent, and investigators said GPS data and phone records corroborate the victims’ stories.

He would expose himself to the women, grope them, force them to have oral sex, and rape them. They did not come forward because he was a policeman, and they usually had previous run-ins with the law. They were afraid no one would believe them.

Here are some of the women’s testimonies, first reported by Buzzfeed News.

One woman was taken to a hospital by three police officers after they discovered she was high. She testified Holtzclaw groped her several times, exposed himself, and forced her into oral sex, telling her to remain still so that her heart monitor would not go off.

“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.” She didn’t report the crime because she didn’t think anyone would believe her. “I feel like all police will work together and I was scared.”

He found a crack pipe in another woman’s bag. He offered her a ride, and then proceeded to follow her into her house, and allegedly raped her in her bed. “And he was like, ‘This is, you know, better than the county,’” she testified.

The case has a crucial racial aspect to it. Holtzclaw is white, his victims are black, and the jury in the case was all white. Meanwhile, the city itself has a minority population of nearly 40%.

Some online observers were nervous about a not-guilty verdict, considering the all-white jury. Others were outraged that it was taking the jury so long to deliberate in a case with a seeming abundance of evidence.

Correction: This post originally said the convictions involved 13 women. The correct number is eight.

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