The tears started flowing from Holtzclaw’s eyes before the verdict in his trial was even announced. Before the judge even showed up in the courtroom, in fact. Perhaps he’d figured out that you can’t wantonly rape, sodomize, and otherwise sexually abuse black women and get away with it, after all.
The former Enid, Oklahoma, police officer was found guilty Thursday night on 18 of 36 counts including first- and second-degree rape, sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition, and forcible oral sodomy. Holtzclaw, a 29-year-old former college football standout at Eastern Michigan, was found guilty of four of the six rape charges, all of which carry 30-year sentences.
The 18 guilty counts covered crimes committed against eight of the 13 women who’d accused him. All of them were black. Per BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa, prosecutors claimed that Holtzclaw deliberately chose women he thought were unlikely to be believed—black women with criminal records from an impoverished neighborhood.
The conviction underscored that police violence is more than shootings, Taserings, or beatings. As the AP reported last month, more than 1,000 officers lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy, and other sexual assault. Holtzclaw’s conviction is to be celebrated, but it also points to our need to address police brutality in all its forms.