On Monday, Nov.Â 2, the Daniel Holtzclaw trial commenced in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Charged with 36 offenses including sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, stalking, and rape, ex-officer Holtzclaw allegedly targeted 13 women during his three-year tenure with the Oklahoma City Police Department. His victims reportedlyÂ ranged in age from 17 to late 50s, but the unifying thread of his accusers is race. Holtzclaw targeted African-American women. Details of a lengthy record of criminal sexual misconduct while on patrol surfaced after an extensive investigation by the Oklahoma City Police Department. The investigation commenced in June 2014 as a result of a 57-year-old black grandmother immediately coming forward to report his sexually violent behavior.The first woman to come forward to file a report alleged Holtzclaw forced her to expose herÂ breasts andÂ perform oral sex on him during a traffic stop. Another victim accused ex-officer Holtzclaw of forcing her to perform oral sex after finding a crack pipe in her purse. Unlike the first woman to report, who, according to a BuzzFeed report, was just passing through the neighborhood, most of the 13 accusers were poor black women with either warrants or suspected of involvement in illegal activities such as prostitution or illegal drug consumption. According to his some of victims, he would offer to not arrest them if they complied with performing sexual acts. The women complied, fearing arrest and incarceration. Despite the horrific nature of the allegations,Â and increased national attention and debate about issues of racially motivatedÂ police misconduct, the investigation of and subsequent trial for Holtzclaw remains largely under- and unreported in many major news outlets. In a historical moment in which campaigns to end sexual violence and to address racism at all levels of the criminal justice system thrive, a case involving an alleged serial rapist of black women has garnered far too little national outrage. Holtzclaw, a man accused of heinous crimes of sexual violation against both an underage girl and a grandmother, is not a household name.The lack of mass media coverage of the investigation of and trial for Holtzclaw emerges from the unique intersection of racism and sexism in the lives of black women. Historically and contemporarily, the victimization of black women in the U.S. through sexual and other forms of violence does not incite a widespread call to action. With the notable exception of black women bloggers, journalists, andÂ scholarsÂ documenting the investigation and the trial as well as a handful of news outlets covering the basic details of the case, there has been a deafening silence around a demand for justice for the black women who came forward. There is no nationally trending hashtag conveying the gravity of crimes allegedly committed by Holtzclaw while on duty.
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