Officer Daniel Holtzclaw's Emotional Reaction To His Sentencing Still Isn't Enough For Many
Former Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced on Thursday to 263 consecutive years in prison. He was convicted of 18 out of 36 total charges stemming from the allegations of eight out of 13 women who accused him of rape and sexual assault. The law enforcement professional sobbed at the news of his sentence, and Daniel Holtzclaw's emotional reaction to his sentencing was particularly unsettling given the sensitive nature of the case as well as his minimal acknowledgement of victims. To many, Holtzclaw appears to be simply mourning his own loss of freedom rather than the guilt of his actions.
Many have taken to social media to either condemn or mock Holtzclaw's shaking, sobbing reaction to the sentencing news following an intense series of victim impact statements from three women who all stressed the incredible psychological and emotional damage that Holtzclaw's actions had caused. "Never a day I won't think of day I was violated," one woman reportedly said during her impact statement. After many delays, including a denial to Holtzclaw for a new trial, each count of first and second degree rape, sexual battery, oral sodomy, stalking, burglary, indecent exposure, and procuring of lewd exhibition was read with its verdict, along with recommended sentencing for convictions.
Holtzclaw maintained his innocence when receiving his verdict back in December, reportedly stating that he "didn’t do it" as he left the court room. His attorney is continuing to fight Holtzclaw's sentence, stating that he plans to appeal. "It is what it is. It wasn't a surprise," attorney Scott Adams told the Associated Press. Though it appears as if Holtzclaw will be in jail for the rest of his life, the verdict and sentencing nonetheless proved inadequate for many. OKC Artists for Justice Co-founder Grace Franklin spoke out about the fact that Holtzclaw was not unanimously convicted of all 36 charges. She said:
Five women did not receive justice. There is a tendency not to believe black women, disenfranchised women. There is a tendency not to value them in the way that other woman are.
Sadly, there is no real way to adequately serve justice in cases such as that of Holtzclaw. Even if he were convicted of all charges, there is no way to undo a moment or turn a life sentence into something greater or somehow force someone to feel more guilt than what they allow themselves. Holtzclaw is clearly in emotional pain. Whether it's for his claimed innocence or the actions for which he was convicted, Holtzclaw's reaction will simply never be enough for many people, it seems. As one Twitter user, Charnessa, wrote:
Advocates and allies...we can celebrate when a conviction like this is no longer headlined as a "landmark victory". #danielholtzclaw #OKC13
Image: AJ Plus