Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer convicted last year of targeting and raping Black women, has disappeared from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website.
Holtzclaw, who was sentenced to 263 consecutive years in prison last month, was found guilty on 18 of 36 charges, including rape and sexual battery. While his conviction and sentencing were welcome justice for his victims and other survivors of sexual violence, attorneys representing the women in a civil suit told NewsOneexclusively that the landmark case barely skims the surface of addressing “400 years of racial and sexual violence against Black women.”
Now, Fox 25 is reporting Holtzclaw’s conviction, mugshot, and incarceration location have been removed from the DOC’s site for safety.
The DOC tells Fox 25 their primary responsibility is the safety and security of offenders and then the public’s safety. Communications Director Terri Watkins said this is not an uncommon practice.
As a consequence of the removal, Hotlzclaw’s information was removed from the Victim’s Notification system, known as V.I.N.E., which is run by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office told Fox 25 the information provided to victims of crime comes from the Department of Corrections. The DOC said Holtzclaw’s victims will be notified if he is released. However, Holtzclaw’s sentence would not allow for such a release.
Watkins said she was not certain of the state law that allows for the removal of inmates from the publicly accessible database, but that it was most recently done with former State Representative Randy Terrill. However, Terrill’s information, including his mug shot and charges remains online as of the publication of this story. Terrill’s incarceration for bribery ended last year, but he remains on probation.
Watkins did assure reporters Holtzclaw is still in custody, but we can’t help but wonder why the DOC is going to such lengths to protect a man convicted of targeting poor Black women he believed lacked the credibility to incriminate him.
Meanwhile, those victims, represented by Civil Rights lawyers Damario Solomon-Simmons, Ben Crump, and Melvin Hall, are gearing up to pursue federal civil rights lawsuits so the women assaulted by the former police officer are “justly compensated for the terror that Holtzclaw perpetrated on them.”
Read NewsOne’s exclusive with attorney Solomon-Simmons here.