Daniel Holtzclaw and the routine sexual assault of Black women by police

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, 9-10 PM, Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI will look at the case of the Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, accused of assaulting 8 Black women by using using his power as an officer of the law to threaten and coerce women into sexual compliance with his wishes. He chose victims who were vulnerable and who often had police records, threatening legal retaliation if they did not comply and knowing that their word would not be believed over his if they spoke out.  The women knew this also. Holtzclaw faces 32 criminal counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and indecent exposure.

Those who work closely with poor black communities say that this case only hints at what is a vast underbelly of routine and systemic police sexaul assults on Black women. They are demanding that this issue be included in current demands for justice for Black communities, being made in the wake of the spate of recent murders of black men by police.

The Black Feminist group Black Women’s Blueprint decided to take this case and issue of police violence against Black women to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva this past November.

Our guests will be: 1) Andrea Ritchie a police misconduct attorney whose legal practice, and advocacy work focuses on the profiling and policing of girls, women, and transgender people of color. She coordinates Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and is on the steering committee of Communities United for Police Reform and 2) Netsanet Tesfay, a human rights attorney at Black Women’s Blueprint, where she provides legal assistance and is also working on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which focuses on black women in the U.S. and their experiences with rape and sexual assault. She recently was part of a delgation to the U. N. Committee Against Torture, in Geneva Switzerland, where she and other members of BWB presented a report entitled: INVISIBLE BETRAYAL: POLICE VIOLENCE AND THE RAPES OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES to the Committee.

We will be discussing the extent and character of police sexualized violence against Black women in the United States, its invisibility and its “routine” nature as well as why Black Women’s Blueprint found it necessary to take their “case” to the U.N. in November. We will start with the Daniel Holtzclaw case and move outward to its significance, its historical precursors and the future of justice for women victims of police violence.

We will be taking listener phone calls at (212) 209-2900 in the latter part of the show. If you have experienced sexual harassment by police, we would be particularly interested in hearing your story.

The show will also include feminist news stories and music. Host: Fran Luck

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