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Prostitutes are often the targets of serial killers because they won’t be missed. Even when these women report crimes, they’re often dismissed because they lack credibility. People living on the margins often face this double standard when trying to get justice.
Attorneys for former Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw are seemingly banking on a strategy of attacking the credibility of the black women allegedly sexually assaulted by Holtzclaw.
The women Holtzclaw is accused of targeting had criminal records and sometimes a history of prostitution. Holtzclaw worked the 4pm to 2am patrol at the police department and is accused of profiling these women and then using his authority to coerce sex from the women.
“Traffic stops, some of the individuals were actually just walking,” Police Chief Bill Citty said in August 2014. “Walking in their neighborhood and they were stopped, you know, searched, threatened in some way with arrest or something to that extent. And as a result of that, actually coerced them into providing sexual favors to him.”
Holtzclaw was arrested in August of 2014 after seven women came forward and accused him of assaulting them while on duty. An additional six women came forward later,KOCO reports.
“There was nothing that I could do,” said a woman who testified on Monday. “He was a police officer and I was a woman.”
The strategy being employed by Holtzclaw’s attorney seems to be to discredit the 13 women accusing him of assault.
“Officers count on no one believing the victim if she reports,” Diane Wetendorf, who runs a counseling group in Chicago for women who are victims of police abuse, told The Raw Story. “And [they] know that the word of a woman of color is likely to be worth even less than the word of a white woman to those who matter in the criminal justice system.”