Daniel Holtzclaw has been found guilty and is going to be in jail for a long, long time. He wept when the verdict was announced because, as a coward and a bully, his crimes have finally caught up with him.
He was a bad cop who used his authority to prey on women who had no recourse to justice.
By allegedly focusing on poor black women with criminal records, Holtzclaw kept himself from being caught—until he met J.L., a black woman who was just passing through the neighborhood he patrolled. “Not only is this individual stopping women who fit a profile of members of our society who are confronted rightly or wrongly by police officers all the time,” said the [Oklahoma County] prosecutor, [Gayland] Gieger. “He identifies a vulnerable society that without exception except one have an attitude for ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?’”
Are there any good cops left? And what is wrong with our society? It’s sick that we have a whole segment, entire neighborhoods, where we assume that the poor residents are so deserving of mistreatment that we police them with predators who feel contempt and hatred for the people they are supposed to protect and serve.
And this disgusts me.
During the trial, defense attorneys tried to challenge the victims’ credibility by emphasizing their criminal records to the jury and asking about their past drug use. Holtzclaw’s family also accused the victims of fabricating their stories.
So if the police harass and abuse a neighborhood for years, that becomes an argument that the police can’t be harassing and abusing the people there because they’re all criminals? There’s a cycle of state-sanctioned toxicity that has to be stopped.
But for now, it’s good to see Holtzclaw shaking and sobbing. I think of all the girls and women who were shaking and sobbing and despairing of justice after he attacked them, and see maybe a tiny bit of justice trickling back.