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Daniel Holtzclaw, ex-officer convicted of rape, sentenced to 263 years in prison

Photo source: CNN screenshot
Photo source: CNN screenshot

During a hearing Thursday, former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting several African American women.

Three of his victims provided emotional statements at the hearing, including the youngest, a 17-year-old unnamed girl.

“It’s been hard on my family. It’s been hard on me,” the teenager said in court, according to NY Daily News. “Every time I see the police, I don’t even know what to do. I don’t ever go outside, and when I do, I’m terrified.”

In December, in front of an all-White jury, 13 Black women testified against 29-year-old Holtzclaw, who was classified as Asian in court documents. Of the 36 counts of sexual assault and rape he faced, he was convicted of 18 counts, which included offenses against eight of the women.

Holtzclaw’s victims stated that he threatened to arrest them if they did not engage in sexual acts with him. The women were from low-income neighborhoods and many had arrest records for substance abuse and prostitution. The prosecution argued that Holtzclaw chose women who had these things in common because he knew they would be less likely to tell someone about the abuse.

After the trial, the Oklahoma City Police Department released a statement expressing that they were “pleased with the jury’s decision,” NBC News reported.

“It was a long and difficult trial and deliberation process for all involved,” the statement continued. “It is obvious the jury took their responsibilities very seriously and considered every piece of evidence presented to them.”

On Wednesday, Holtzclaw’s attorney, Scott Adams, filed a motion accusing the prosecution of withholding evidence from the defense by the government, according to The Oklahoman. The attorney was seeking a new trial or hearing, but the motion was denied.

“It is what it is,” Adams told the Associated Press regarding the lengthy sentence. “It wasn’t a surprise.”

Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, said that the verdict was a “landmark victory,” CNN reported.

“All the women were victims, from the 17-year old teenager to the 57-year old grandmother. This is a statement for 400 years of racism, oppression and sexual assault of Black women; a statement of victory not only for the ‘OKC 13,’ but for so many unknown women,” Crump said in a statement released Thursday.

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