Oklahoma City Police Department has been under scrutiny lately because of a case involving now-ex-Oklahoma City officer Daniel Holtzclaw and 13 women, 17 to 57 years old, who accused him of assaults and rape. He has since been convicted to 263 years in prison.
That sentence is over three lifetimes, according to today’s average life expectancy in a USA Today article. Thirteen women’s lives for 263 years in prison. How does a jury quantitate the number of years each woman’s life is worth?
You can’t put a number on a life.
Another aspect of the case was race and socioeconomic class.
“Prosecutors said Holtzclaw selected victims in one of Oklahoma City’s poorest neighborhoods based on their criminal histories, assuming their drug or prostitution records would undermine any claims they might make against him,” according to an article on CNN.
This thought process lines up with one of our societal issues of victim blaming. These women may have had records, but that doesn’t excuse what he had done to them. These women were scared to come forward because Holtzclaw had power over them, in more ways than one. He was the man who took power from them, but he was also a cop. Why would anyone believe them if a cop was saying otherwise?
In associate news editor Marissa Russo’s story, “OKC 13 film encourages tough thoughts,” she addresses Plattsburgh State’s conversations of the documentary, “The OKC 13,” created by Carmen Coffee and Mawuli Hormeku about the progression of the case and the OKCPD.
PSUC Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator Rhema Lewis said our society has taught us wrong. It has taught us to hate. She said we need to “reteach and relearn” to make progress.
In this case, we see a person who is supposed to be trusted. Cases like these and people like him give law enforcement a bad name.