Cameras were barred from the courtroom during the Daniel Holtzclaw trial until a verdict was revealed.
What they eventually showed was a powerful scene.
After deliberating for 45 hours over four days, jurors convicted the former Oklahoma City police officer of 18 out of 36 counts on his birthday. Sentencing remains, but the now-convicted rapist drew a total of 263 possible years behind bars for what prosecutors portrayed as an intentional targeting of poor, black women with criminal records in northeast OKC.
The Holtzclaw trial grew to be national news in a year dominated by stories of police departments around America that have been embroiled in racial controversies.
In Oklahoma County, however, Holtzclaw’s conviction — which will likely face appeal — marks at least the second time in about 25 months that District Attorney David Prater has convicted a police officer of a crime against African American citizens.
Former Del City police officer Randy Trent Harrison was convicted in November 2013 of first-degree manslaughter for shooting a black teenage suspect in the back and killing him. Harrison is serving four years in jail.
Members of OKC Artists for Justice — an advocacy group that had rallied in support of Holtzclaw’s victims since the officer was charged — hoped the former OKC officer would receive life in prison. They, and many, now await Holtzclaw’s sentencing.
NonDoc has pulled the following quotes from state and national news sources to help provide perspective on the case.
“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.”
“When you’re in the county [jail], you can’t get your hair done or do any prepping for court.” (OKC Artists for Justice’s Grace) Franklin explains. “They were defeated at first. After all, everybody is White; the defense is White, the prosecution is White, and the judge is White, and then they have to get on the stand and be badgered.”
“To the African-American community, I’ll say this … I appreciate you trusting us and standing down and making sure nothing foolish happened during the investigation of this case and during the trying of this case,” (District Attorney David) Prater said. “You trusted us, and we appreciate that. The Oklahoma City Police Department did the right thing, and so did we. And you trusted us to do it. And I hope you know we will continue to do that.”
“I didn’t do it,” Holtzclaw said before he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Fox 25’s Tom George on long wait for verdict
Many asking about what long wait means for verdict – keep in mind each of 36 counts & sentences are decided individually #DanielHoltzclaw
— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) December 9, 2015