Several months ago, conservative columnist and bestselling author Michelle Malkin embarked on a quest to review evidence in the case of an Oklahoma City police officer who was sentenced to life in prison — 263 years — for 18 counts of sexual assault (he was charged with 36 counts). Her due diligence is making a lot of people, especially liberals, angry
Daniel Holtzclaw was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of older black women at traffic stops across the Oklahoma City area. Protesters, some affiliated with Black Lives Matter, used the case as evidence that OKC police officers were abusing their power.
Holtzclaw’s trial quickly garnered national attention and his alleged victims received high-profile support, including a lawyer who represented the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
After a thorough investigation, involving trial transcripts, photographs and video of the crime scenes, discovery documents and personal interviews with OKC detectives and community members — as well as an in depth study of the forensic evidence — Malkin says she’s concluded that there is a very real possibility that Holtzclaw may, in fact, be entirely innocent of the charges.
Malkin contends that Holtzclaw was convicted based entirely on circumstantial evidence and testimony from “victims” who not only lacked credibility but also had been actively recruited by police investigators. She goes on to point out that the victims have a profit motive as they are suing for damages.
She’s laying out her case in a two-part special, for the digital network Conservative Review, titled “Daniel in the Den: The Truth about the Holtzclaw Case.” But before she’d even set out making her case in the court of public opinion, it had convicted her.
The backlash from progressive activists was swift and direct. According to Malkin, social justice activists in Oklahoma City pressured a billboard company to pull an advertisement for Malkin’s special that asked “What if he didn’t do it?”
I work in this neighborhood where he targeted women. Bad form.
Holtzclaw billboard in NE OKC sparks controversy https://t.co/U2wNGdYJTS
— That Blonde Girl. (@OhYouGirl) November 22, 2016
— MichiganGirl (@dlruthenberg) November 22, 2016
The fact that someone was ok with a fucking Daniel Holtzclaw billboard… Oklahoma is really a shitty place pic.twitter.com/Ff3K1XG9Q0
— Big Country (@MsLaFitteTweets) November 22, 2016
Media Company Showed No Compassion for Black Female Victims of Convicted Rapist Daniel Holtzclaw with This Billboard https://t.co/VXFId44Vqt
— Vintage Productions (@vintagepsuite) December 5, 2016
— OKCARTISTS4JUSTICE (@OKCART4JUSTICE) November 22, 2016
The movement, led by “OKC Artists 4 Justice,” inundated Tyler Media, calling the billboard “garbage,” “a disgrace,” and “ridiculous.” The group’s official Twitter account called the ad, which features Holtzclaw in his orange prison uniform, “terroristic imagery.”
Tyler Media says they pulled the ad “in the best interests of the community.”
On Twitter, the activists also attacked Malkin, calling her a “concentration camp enthusiast” and “alt-right.”
Concentration camp enthusiast Michelle Malkin also a Daniel Holtzclaw troofer https://t.co/tZ5y6WDSJC
— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) November 22, 2016
Alt-right group buys billboards QUESTIONING Daniel Holtzclaw's victims. Will they do the same for Cosby's accusers?https://t.co/7uID2LObkc
— Black Authority (@TheBlackChannel) November 22, 2016
Whether Malkin’s makes a strong case or not, the backlash is ironic, particularly as it comes from activists who would normally cheer an investigation into judicial misconduct.
Modern media is full of examples of journalists exonerating convicted criminals through investigation, often to be hailed as heroes. The Innocence Project has freed many convicts through DNA testing, for example, and Malkin’s show is clearly modeled on popular docudramas such as Netflix’s Making a Murderer and NPR’s Serial – both of which have received significant liberal acclaim and led to new hope for the convicts.
Simply because a case is useful to demonstrate a culturally popular position doesn’t mean that it should escape similar scrutiny, especially if the system, including Oklahoma City law enforcement, railroaded an innocent man in violation of the Constitutional guarantees of due process.