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Ex-police officer Daniel Holtzclaw sobbed while a judge read him the guilty verdict handed down by a Oklahoma City jury on 18 of the 36 charges for assaulting at least 13 black women.
He was found guilty Thursday of six counts of sexual battery, three counts of lewd exhibition, four counts of forcible oral sodomy, four counts of rape in the first degree, and one count of rape in the second degree. He will be sentenced next month.
The verdict came after four days of deliberation by an all white jury. Their task was not only to decide on a verdict, but in case of a guilty verdict, they were also to recommend a sentence. They’ve recommended 263 years.
Some survivors and their attorneys held an emotional press conference today in response to the verdict.
One of the survivors, Jannie Lygons said she was pulled over for no reason, and Holtzclaw forced her to give him oral sex.
“I was violated in June by a police officer,” Lygons said. “He did things to me I didn’t think a police officer would do.” She said she thought he was going to kill her.
Sade Hill, another survivor added her voice, “I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in survivor mode, so I had to do what he was making me do.”
It’s evident that Holtzclaw used his status as a police officer to coerce and intimidate his victims.
He targeted women he didn’t think the system would believe or protect. By focusing on poor black women with criminal records who didn’t trust the police, Holtzclaw avoided getting caught.
Black women carry the added fear of sexual violence from law enforcement. This is something that is seldom included in police misconduct narratives.
“Not only is this individual stopping women who fit a profile of members of our society who are confronted rightly or wrongly by police officers all the time,” said the Oklahoma County prosecutor, Gayland Gieger. “He identifies a vulnerable society that without exception except one have an attitude for ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?’”
Watch: Daniel Holtzclaw verdict reading
The make up of the jury was criticized by the Oklahoma City National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the trial. African Americans make up 16 percent of Oklahoma County’s population, but were no black people among the eight men and four women on the jury.
There is an undeniable element of race in the crimes themselves. The fear of being targeted by police is legitimate and prevalent in the black community. However discussions of police brutality are often based on abuse likely to happen to both sexes. Black women carry the added fear of sexual violence from law enforcement. This is something that is seldom included in police misconduct narratives.
Moreover, while there is certainly the reality of offending officers often not facing justice, research shows that sexual assault convictions are rare. In the cases of white men against black women, convictions are essentially non-existent.
The Black Lives Matter movement focuses on police misconduct. They’ve managed to bring race and police brutality to the national stage. But there is an aspect missing to that conversation.
Rape culture is a theory that is still often scoffed at, but it is a valid one.
Discussion on certain environments that may normalize or facilitate rape is needed, especially within the Black Lives Matter movement and conversations on police violence.
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By Tyler Wilson
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to snuggle up and watch a good movie. Here’s a list of the 10 best Christmas movies of the past 30 years (or so).
- ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983)
This family classic will bring joy and laughter to everyone in your house, regardless of age. It is a movie about a young boy by the name of “Ralphie” who “convinces his parents, his teacher and santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940’s.”
Also a classic, National Lampoon’s family is anything from ordinary. This comedy is full of jokes, gags and tons of humor. The main character “Clark” is set on an adventure preparing his house for his arrival of his large family.
- ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (2000)
Just because this movie was made by Disney doesn’t mean those over the age of 8 can’t enjoy it! The Grinch (played by Jim Carrey) is sure to make anyone chuckle, it is about a green “Grinch” who is very determined to steal christmas from a small village. Although his fate gets changed along the way.
- ‘Santa Clause 3’ (2006)
Although this is the 3rd installment of the series, this is the one that truly gave everyone the warm feeling of Christmas. When Jack Frost attempts to steal Christmas from Santa Claus (played by Tim Allen) he must fight through time in order to save Christmas for kids all over the world.
- Elf (2003)
When an unorthodox Elf (played by Will Ferrell) is sent to New York to find out who he really is, he’s sent on an adventure through modern technology. This is a must-watch, the humor and jokes in this movie are promised to make the whole family laugh.
- ‘Home Alone’ (1990)
When 8 year old Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left at home while his parents go on vacation, he protects his house while two men attempt to break in. This is a very funny and great movie to watch with the family and has a nice “kid-like” point of view on things.
- ‘The Polar Express’ (2004)
When a young boy is awakened by the sounds of a train late at night, he is greeted by a very exciting adventure to the North Pole. This is a thrilling family movie and will be guaranteed to make you feel like a part of the ride!
- ‘Gremlins’ (1984)
This thriller is about the darker side of christmas. When a man gets an interesting pet called a “Mogwai” he’s given very strict rules. When these rules are broken he is sent on a very hair raising adventure. This movie would be better without the kids but it is still a very good classic and is a must see.
- ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)
When Jack Skellington (The king of Halloweentown) gets bored with his repeating lifestyle, he demands a change. When he accidentally stumbles into Christmas Town, he is greeted with an entirely new lifestyle. When he gets back he attempts to bring the idea to Halloweentown. Its is a great family movie and will make everyone feel good.
- ‘Scrooged’ (1988)
When Frank Cross (played by Bill Murray) resents the idea of Christmas, he is greeted by the ghosts of Christmas past to get him in the “Christmas Spirit.” It will make everyone in your family get in the Christmas mood and will be sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA- Two weeks ago, a list published on social media detailed 11 names of people accused of raping students at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.
The list was released, along with a set of demands by still unknown members of the Rhodes University student body.
Thousands of students protesting under the banner “Unashamed”, began their movement by placing posters on walls with quotes from Rhodes students, management and prosecutors.
The posters were intended to show the prevailing attitudes of those in and around Rhodes regarding rape and the rape culture that is being fostered in Rhodes and without a doubt, other South African universities.
The Unashamed movement, along with anti-rape organisation, Chapter 212 (which refers to Chapter 2(12) of the South African Constitution, which entails the freedom and security of the person,) began the anti-rape campaign in order to challenge the current systems in place for victims of rape and sexual assault in universities and the country.
Since the beginning of the campaign there have been protests on the Rhodes campus.
And while they intended to be peaceful, some students were injured after police fired stun grenades at them.
Five students were arrested for “protesting on a public road.”
WATCH: Video of three of the arrested students
Heavy police presence have been a feature of protests on South African campuses since the #FeesMustFall movement began last year.
It seems then that the #RUReferenceList was released in order to coincide with the larger student campaign for reform and in order to protect women on campus from suspected rapists.
However, the release of the list has been controversial with some people calling for justice to be served, before anyone is outed in a public way.
The implication among young people in this country is that a few members of the movement have had defamation charges brought against them; this has caused further outrage because it seems as though university management is more concerned about the identities of rapists than the safety of women on campus.
The movement prompted protests on campuses across the country, with Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town placing posters, such as the ones in Rhodes, on their campuses.
But the most dramatic protest was held by the women of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Scores of students here partook in a topless protest in solidarity with the women of Rhodes.
Images of the protests at University of the Witwatersrand:
It seems as though this is just the beginning of protests on campuses across South Africa, with the intention of bringing the serious issue of rape on university campuses to the forefront of discussion.
RISE NEWS will continue to cover this story as it develops in South Africa.
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