Former Oklahoma City officer Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty of serially raping black women in 2015 and sentenced to 263 years behind bars last year, but his family still refuses to acknowledge his guilt. This month, relatives launched a fundraising campaign for the HoltzclawTrial, an investigative podcast that will “go in-depth and dig deeper” into the convicted rapist’s case with the hopes of freeing him.
According to a GoGetFunding campaign posted on February 7, the bi-weekly “audio and video podcast” will be hosted by private investigator Brian Bates, who worked with Holtzclaw’s defense team. Bates will release “behind-the-scenes discovery material, interviews, and audio recordings of the accusers,” and the family asked for $4,000 for production equipment. So far, 33 supporters have donated $4,870.
In 2014 and 2015, 13 black women from Oklahoma City, including a 17-year-old girl, accused Holtzclaw of “rape, sexual battery and forcible oral sodomy.” The officer was charged with 36 separate counts and found guilty of 18 of them by an all-white jury.
Even before the trial began, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty admitted that Holtzclaw preyed on black women with criminal histories.
“Traffic stops, some of the individuals were actually just walking,” Citty explained. “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.”
But Bates and the Holtzclaw family are still fighting his conviction.
“We’ve decided the best way to tell the entire story (the good and the bad) is to publish in-depth podcasts (both audio only and a video version),” Bates wrote on his Facebook page, In Defense of Daniel Holtzclaw. “The podcast will be narrated by me and will take the audience through each and every accusation, reveal the investigative approach used and you will hear the words spoken by the accusers themselves.”
Bates specified that 18 episodes will pertain to the Holtzclaw trial, and another 18 episodes will respond to listeners’ comments and questions. His Facebook page says that donations will cover travel, equipment, and “hosting” expenses.
“We’ve waited over a year since Daniel’s trial for the main stream media to do the right thing and report the truth — but they refuse,” Bates wrote.
Despite enough evidence to warrant a 263-year sentence, Holtzclaw maintains his innocence and appealed his conviction on February 1. He believes the “circus atmosphere” surrounding his case prevented him from receiving a fair trial and that the prosecution didn’t have adequate proof that he had “used or threatened to use force or violence against any of the victims.”