Justice was served Thursday evening when a jury reached a verdict on charges brought against former Oklahoma City Police officer Daniel Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw was found guilty on 18 of 36 charges, which ranged from rape, sexual battery and other charges.
Holtzclaw, who turned 29 today also, was the focus of the jury for the past four days before reaching their decision. Holtzclaw faced dozens of charges and managed to avoid some as well.
More from KOCO-5:
The jury recommended 263 years in prison for Holtzclaw.
He was found not guilty on 18 charges.
Holtzclaw was accused of raping or sexually victimizing 13 women, and was visibly sobbing as the verdict was read.
The victims said they met Holtzclaw while he was on duty, and prosecutors said the ex-officer intimidated them into not reporting his crimes.
Holtzclaw’s lawyer portrayed him as a model officer and questioned the credibility of the women who testified against him.
According to NBC News, Holtzclaw burst into a sobbing fit when the verdict was read.
As NewsOne originally reported, Holtzclaw was charged with 36 counts of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and stalking. He thought he’d picked easy targets: poor, Black women, who were in and out of the criminal justice system, and would lack credibility if they tried to pursue charges.
During the trial, the woman — most of whom must suffer the indignity of being escorting into the the courtroom by officers in shackles, jumpsuits and handcuffs, while their alleged attacker sat unchained in a suit — continued to fight for their rights, courageously taking the stand to speak out against the former police officer. The scene “underscored the importance of seeing the Black Lives Matter protests spread across all aspects of life, including the legal system and corporate America,” Tulsa legal expert Damario Solomon-Simmons told NewsOne exclusively after visiting the courtroom.
“Frankly, it was a surreal and disappointing scene that was more like 1915 than 2015. First, we quickly noticed that not only were there no Black jurors, there were not any Black lawyers, bailiffs, clerks, or security personnel in the courtroom,” Solomon-Simmons said.
“Next, we were disappointed to see that, while defendant Holtzclaw was allowed to attend the trial in a suit and free from handcuffs or restraints, some of the alleged victims were actually forced to testify while shackled and ‘dressed out’ in jail orange jump suits. Lastly, we were disappointed to find out that many of the victims didn’t have proper representation or support to help them navigate the confusing and complicated legal proceedings.”
“This is emblematic of a legal system that is embarrassingly void of Black participation except as defendants, too often treats Blacks as ‘guilty until proven innocent,’ and is undeniably slanted in favor of our White, wealthy, and connected citizens such as Holtzclaw,” he said.
For a full timeline of the Holtzclaw trial, click here.
SOURCE: KOCO-5, NBC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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