An Oklahoma City jury is deliberating the fate of former officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who has been charged with sexually abusing 13 Black women.
Holtzclaw, 28, faces 36 counts of rape, oral sodomy and sexual battery. During yesterday’s closing arguments, prosecutors said that Holtzclaw became aroused by asserting his power.
“He was sexually stimulated by using his power to make [the women] show their private parts to him,” assistant district attorney Lori McConnell said. “Officer Holtzclaw is heady from these powers. He gets even bolder. What he starts doing is taking whatever he wants.”
According to prosecutors, Holtzclaw would regularly target Black women—many of whom were either drug addicts or had criminal records—during his year on the force. According to the women, who have all testified against him, Holtzclaw would search them for outstanding records before sexually assaulting them. He would then reportedly silence them by reminding them that they could face incarceration for their own crimes if they were to come forward.
“‘I’m not going to take you to jail,’” one victim who recently testified recalled him saying. “‘Just play by my rules.’”
Holtzclaw was arrested September 2014 and fired from the squad the following January. Last month, a judge selected an all-White and majority male jury to hear the case. If convicted, Holtzclaw faces up to life in prison.