“Hardcore Pro-Lifer” Palin on Dobson’s Radio Show

Emily Douglas

Sarah Palin calls herself a "hardcore pro-lifer" in an interview with James Dobson.

During a campaign swing through Colorado Springs recently, Sarah Palin got on the phone with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson for an interview for Dobson’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast. The adoration flowed freely, and amidst the mutual congratulation, a few nuggets uttered by the possible future vice-president stood out:

Palin told Dobson that she would "seek [God’s] perfect will for this nation and to, of course, seek his
wisdom and guidance in putting this nation back on the right track." 

Palin called herself a "hardcore pro-lifer" and said that giving birth to Trig gave her the opportunity to "to really be walking the walk and not just talking the talk" of "pro-life" values.

In a telling exchange, Dobson told Palin that he was moved by watching Piper Palin smooth Trig Palin’s hair at the Republican National Convention. Dobson said, "One of the most touching and dramatic moments in the last year for
me was when you were speaking at the Republican National Convention and
little Trig was sitting on Piper’s lap and she wet her fingers and
mashed down his hair that was sticking up in the back. I’m sure that
she has seen you do that many times. Boy, that really grabbed my heart,
I’ll tell you."

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Palin responded, "I know, that was kind of a nice manifestation there of our
little mother hen there in Piper…"

Right Wing Watch supplies the link to the interview and a transcript.

 

Analysis Human Rights

The Students of Color on the Front Lines of Yale’s Fight Against Institutional Racism

Zoe Greenberg

“When we’re applying, Yale’s like, ‘Please come here, it’s so diverse, we do all of these things!’ But when we get here, it’s like, ‘OK. You’re on your own,’” Brea Baker, a Black senior and president of Yale’s NAACP chapter, told Rewire in a phone interview. “The Yale that we’re being sold is not the Yale that we live on a daily basis.”

Near midnight on October 31, 2015, Rose Bear Don’t Walk and two friends stood outside a bar next to the Yale University campus, waiting to get into a Halloween party. Bear Don’t Walk, a senior at Yale and a Native American from the Bitterroot Salish and Crow Tribes in Montana, usually dreaded Halloween, when many of her peers dressed up like caricatures of Native Americans, with “war paint” streaked across their faces and feathers protruding from their hair.

But this year she was having an unexpectedly good time. A woman dressed in a cartoonish Native American costume had actually taken it off and handed it over earlier in the night, after Bear Don’t Walk explained that the outfit was disrespectful. Now outside the bar, Bear Don’t Walk saw a group of three men, one of whom was wearing a caricatured Native American headdress. Buoyed by her earlier experience, she decided to talk to him.

A few days before, the Intercultural Affairs Committee (IAC) at Yale had sent an email encouraging students to avoid costumes that would be disrespectful to minority races or ethnicities. In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and administrator in one of Yale’s residential communities, sent a now widely read email, claiming that the IAC’s guidelines imposed unnecessary control over students’ behavior. Quoting her husband Nicholas, another administrator at the college, Christakis wrote, “If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other.”

Outside the bar, Bear Don’t Walk approached the three men, who may or may not have been students. She began to explain that she was Native American and found the costume insensitive. Almost immediately, the men started screaming at her, according to her and another friend, Diana Orozco, who was there.

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“Shut the fuck up! Your life and opinion don’t matter to me!” Bear Don’t Walk remembered one of them yelling.

The men were large and very drunk, according to Orozco and Bear Don’t Walk. One of them walked into the middle of the street and started imitating a Native American war whoop on one knee; the other two continued shouting, “calling us bitches, whores, stupid,” Orozco said. Bear Don’t Walk added that the other people waiting in line at the bar, which is frequented by students and directly in front of a row of Yale dorms, did not intervene, but merely watched from a distance.

“I like to be strong and confident and self-assured,” Bear Don’t Walk told Rewire in a phone interview. “But it was a pretty helpless, terrifying situation, in the midst of so many people.”

Other Yale women of color were having similarly grueling experiences that same night. A few blocks away from the bar, an SAE fraternity member allegedly turned away “dark-skinned” women at the door of a party, claiming, “No, we’re only looking for white girls.” Tension was also mounting over Christakis’ email, which many saw as a suggestion that students of color should simply ignore racism by “looking away,” or shoulder the burden of fixing a systemic problem by initiating one-on-one conversations with peers.

In the days following Halloween, a firestorm of protests erupted in response to the email and the fraternity party, leading to a march of over 1,000 students, fierce confrontations with top administrators, and significant concessions from the centuries-old school (not to mention dozens of think pieces from Yale alumni all over the country). The uprising happened the same week protests raged at the University of Missouri as students spoke out about administrative inaction over racist incidents there. The events at Yale and Mizzou struck a national chord; since then, college students across the country have pushed their schools to confront racism on campus.

But much of the media coverage surrounding the Yale protests didn’t actually engage with the student organizers themselves, many of whom were women of color, to hear their stories and their strategies. These young women, like many women of color who came before them, played a critical role in pushing Yale to take decisive action, while simultaneously launching a national conversation about race at colleges and universities.

For this story, Rewire interviewed seven women of color on the front lines of the movement at Yale, all of whom are trying to change a university that, as they noted, was not built with them in mind.

***

The problems involving racism on Yale’s campus extend far beyond a fraternity party or a Halloween email. The women Rewire interviewed described a wide array of both micro- and macro-aggressions they face regularly on campus, including being repeatedly confused with “the one other Black woman in the class” and being asked to speak on behalf of their entire race in seminars with white peers. In addition, they have concerns about Yale’s inability to retain professors of color; a lack of institutional support for the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program, which does not have departmental status; and the monuments to racist leaders across campus, like the residential college named after John C. Calhoun, one of the nation’s preeminent white supremacists best known for his defense of slavery as a “positive good.”

They also detailed incidents of physical violence. Taylor Eldridge, a Black senior Psychology major who is deeply involved in the Yale Christian community, described an evening this past June when she witnessed a white man pull a gun on two Black kids walking on a sidewalk that cuts through Yale’s campus. After the campus police arrived, Eldridge said she spent 30 minutes trying to get an officer to listen to her witness account but was consistently rebuffed; it was only after she said she was a Yale student that a police officer stopped to take down her information.

Shaken by the event, Eldridge said it was largely dismissed by the administration. Only after “three days of persistent emails and a nearly three hour face-to-face meeting” with the campus chief of police and another administrator, she said, did the university even officially acknowledge the incident through an email to the college’s summer session students. (Rewire obtained a copy of the email.)

In recent years Yale has made it a priority to attract a racially and economically diverse student body. In the fall of 2014, the student population was 9 percent Black, 9 percent Latino, and 2 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. The university boasts that 52 percent of its undergraduates received scholarships or grants from “Yale sources.”

But students of color and students from low-income backgrounds say there’s a difference between the recruiting brochures and the reality on campus.

“When we’re applying, Yale’s like, ‘Please come here, it’s so diverse, we do all of these things!’ But when we get here, it’s like, ‘OK. You’re on your own,’” Brea Baker, a Black senior and president of Yale’s NAACP chapter, told Rewire in a phone interview. “The Yale that we’re being sold is not the Yale that we live on a daily basis.”

***

Student activists were quick to point out that the organizing happening after the Halloween email and the SAE party, to get the university to acknowledge the incidents and prevent future ones from occurring, didn’t come out of nowhere.

“This organizing, this coalition-building, has been going on for years. The media only picked up on it now,” Baker said. “This is nothing new, which is why it was so easy, because we all knew each other from previous actions.”

On Thursday, November 5, after days of talking in cultural centers and in off-campus buildings, activists forced the conversation, literally, into the open. Students had gathered outside of Yale’s main library to draw in chalk on the sidewalk—a common form of publicizing events or opinions on campus, like an outdoor broadsheet. They wanted to affirm women of color, who felt particularly targeted by the recent campus events. Jonathan Holloway, the first Black dean of Yale College and a renowned scholar of African-American history, showed up in solidarity.

Soon hundreds of students surrounded him, expressing grief and demanding a public response from the administration. Holloway listened.

“When the students spoke to me about their pain, I could listen to it as a historian. I could understand: There is a long history of this; I’ve heard these stories before; I’ve written about these things before,” Holloway said in an address to alumni a few weeks later. “But then it really struck a deep chord with me, because I lived this before.”

A few blocks away, students also confronted Nicholas Christakis, the administrator whose wife had quoted him as telling students to “look away” from offensive costumes in the original Halloween email.

Adriana Miele, a Latina senior who is a columnist for the Yale Daily News, was leaving a seminar on Thursday afternoon when she saw approximately 200 people walking purposefully across campus. It was an informal march, as organizers moved from the center of campus toward the Afro-American Cultural Center, or “the House,” to plan their next move after an emotional afternoon.

At the center, the students split into different rooms. Some talked about what to do next. Some talked about how the administration might respond. Others sat with whiteboards, pens, and paper, and simply started documenting, “writing testimony after testimony of racism and misogyny,” Miele said.

Everything was moving quickly.

Later that night Yale President Peter Salovey reached out to student organizers, and about 50 of them, including Miele, went to speak with him and other top administrators. For four hours, the students grieved, wept, and shared with Salovey their experiences of racism on campus.

“Knowing my own experiences and hearing them echoed over and over again was heartbreaking,” Miele said. She had once thought the issue was personal; that she was “just being dramatic.” But at the meeting, she saw the problem was bigger than “a few people being mean to me.”

At the meeting, Salovey told the students that Yale had failed them. He said the school would work to be better.

But now that Salovey had vowed to act, the activists wanted to help direct his next steps. The Black Student Alliance had already released a list of demands, but student activists from all of the cultural centers, including the alliance, wanted to create a more comprehensive one, and there wasn’t much time.

So over the course of the next few days, the students gathered again. Baker said the process took place over two days, for about 15 hours. There were about 50 students present, with some coming and going for class or meetings that couldn’t be missed.

First the organizers asked each other, “What do students of color, queer students, and the international community need, in general?” according to Baker. Yuni Chang, an Asian-American sophomore and leader at the Asian American Cultural Center who attended the meeting, remembered that someone wrote the list of needs on a large easel paper at the front of the room, which turned into two pages, then three, then five. Afterwards the group winnowed it down to material demands.

By the end of the hours-long process, the group had a new name, NextYale, and a list of six clear demands. Many of the demands directly echoed those Mizzou students released a few days earlier.

“I definitely felt like this was going to be way bigger than me and way bigger than anyone in the room,” Baker said. “I was anxious, hopeful, nervous: How would the administration view it? But most of all I felt excitement and pride.”

***

The intensive organizing, brainstorming, writing, and planning, did not happen without significant sacrifices though.

The organizers were still full-time students and many were also deeply involved in extracurricular activities and working one or two part-time jobs. All of the women Rewire spoke with voiced how difficult it was, both throughout their college career and in these few intensive days, to attend class, write reading responses, and participate in section while simultaneously battling racism built into the walls of their university.

Adriana Miele said that she’s dropping a class, and it may be difficult to graduate on time.

“This place is not made for me, and the fact that I’m in the process of changing it makes me not care about my well-being in these ways. These past few weeks are the first time in the past four years that I have really felt that I’ve had power here,” she said.

Dean Holloway told the Yale Daily News that he had urged college administrators to be mindful of what students were going through during the week of demonstrations.

“Students are dealing with emotional stress. Some are not getting enough sleep or are not eating enough,” Holloway said. “Our job is to be mindful of this.” He added that individual faculty members are responsible for granting leniency on class assignments, but that many had expressed understanding.

Chang said she couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that there were students on campus oblivious to the situation, walking around talking with their friends about movies or the weather or a difficult essay.

“That wasn’t a reality for me or for many of my friends. Being a student here during this time has been incredibly difficult,” Chang said. “That’s what it means to be a person of color­—particularly a Black or brown student—at a place like Yale. You can never just be a student.”

***

On Monday, November 9, more than 1,000 students gathered at the center of campus after a week of grief and outrage for a “March of Resilience.” Bear Don’t Walk says fellow student activists spent two days planning the event, designating media coordinators, police liaisons, and people to man the barricades on the sides of the street. The march featured music, singing, and dancing—a bright spot in a week of agonizing and agitating.

Dean Holloway spoke about the march in an address to alumni a few weeks later. He said no administrators knew about the event until the night before, a conscious choice on the part of organizers.

“We weren’t sure what to expect, and we were concerned about what might happen, quite frankly,” Holloway said. “And what happened was a thing of beauty. … Over 1,000 people marched down High Street, down to the Cross Campus Plaza, to say, in a sense, ‘This is our Yale also. We belong here also.’ It was a peaceful, civil articulation that Yale is capacious enough to handle all of our views. That’s Yale at its finest, I think.”

Dara Huggins, a Black junior and president of the Black Women’s Coalition, said the march was about shifting from a place of pain to a place of power.

“That was probably one of the most beautiful things that I’ve witnessed in my whole life,” she told Rewire.

 ***

Eight days after the March of Resilience, President Salovey released a statement outlining the changes Yale plans to make in response to the student activism. His letter began, “In my 35 years on this campus, I have never been as simultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged by our community—and all the promise it embodies—as in the past two weeks. You have given strong voice to the need for us to work toward a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yale.”

The changes he noted included doubling the budgets of the four cultural centers on campus, reducing the income contribution for students on financial aid, and training administrators on racism and discrimination.

Many of the women Rewire spoke with after Salovey published his statement appeared battle-worn. They were weeks behind on schoolwork and spending their Thanksgiving break catching up on assignments. Some were cautiously optimistic about Salovey’s response; others were careful to say they appreciated what he said but he had not sufficiently addressed all of NextYale’s demands.

For example, while NextYale requested that the administration rename Calhoun College and name the two new residential houses after people of color, Salovey wrote that the Yale Corporation would be in charge of those decisions. And while NextYale asked for the removal of the Christakises from administrative positions, Salovey did not mention either Christakis in his email. (Since then, Erika Christakis has decided to not teach a course in the spring, according to Business Insider.)

The storm of planning, meeting, and organizing had passed, and some were uncertain about what was going to happen next. Would the administration actually follow through on its promises? Would the campus quiet down?

“At Yale, it feels very slow,” Eldridge said of the university’s response. “It’s hard to be patient when you’ve been experiencing these things every day. This is better than silence, but I’m not satisfied with the response … I’m going to wait to see the results.”

Chang also cautioned against seeing Salovey’s statement as a “final victory” in a short battle against the university. Instead she was energized to continue NextYale’s fight.

“NextYale is very much not over as a movement,” Chang said. “All of this is ongoing. Salovey’s email, and his recognition of that, is a first step, toward many, many more wins in the future.”

Analysis Violence

Drug War’s Impact on Black Women Comes to the Fore in Daniel Holtzclaw Trial

Kanya D’Almeida

Of the many horrific details that have come to light in the ongoing trial of Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting multiple Black women, perhaps the most common is the allegation that the 28-year-old football star-turned-cop specifically targeted women with histories of substance dependency.

Read more of our articles on the Daniel Holtzclaw trial here.

Of the many horrific details that have come to light in the ongoing trial of Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting multiple Black women, perhaps the most common is the allegation that the 28-year-old football star-turned-cop specifically targeted women with histories of substance dependency.

Holtzclaw reportedly preyed upon 12 Black women and one Black teenager in the low-income neighborhoods on the east side of Oklahoma City that served as his patrol area between December 2013 and June 2014, stopping those he suspected of being in possession of drugs and allegedly using this excuse to perform abusive body searches and to threaten or coerce women into sexual acts.

By Tuesday evening, which marked day 16 of the trial and saw the 13 accusers taking the stand against Holtzclaw in the Oklahoma County courthouse, a pattern of alleged abuse had emerged that not only highlighted Black women’s vulnerability to police brutality, but also called into question the ways in which the “war on drugs” has disproportionately impacted Black women.

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Since the trial began on November 2, local journalists have reported that the defense attorney led his cross-examinations by questioning witnesses about being under the influence of, or in possession of, either drugs or alcohol at the time of the assaults.

An investigation by the Associated Press revealed that one woman who claims to have been orally sodomized by Holtzclaw was handcuffed to a hospital bed throughout the incident; she’d been admitted to the medical facility while high on angel dust, or PCP.

Other accusers say the ex-officer fondled, groped, and even penetrated them under the guise of searching them for drugs. Some say he promised to make pending charges go away if they “cooperated with him,” or threatened them with jail time if they didn’t.

The sixth accuser who testified against Holtzclaw on November 18 was the second witness to take the stand while in the custody of Oklahoma County jail on drug-related charges. Shackled at the wrists and ankles, she wore an orange jumpsuit to the courtroom and told the all-white jury she was under the influence of crack cocaine when Holtzclaw allegedly stopped her on the street, drove her home, and raped her in her own bedroom.

Defense Attorney Scott Adams has seized upon some witnesses’ histories of substance dependency to cast doubt on the validity of their testimony, according to reporters with the Oklahoman and TV news channel KOCO 5.

In one incident that generated some buzz on social media, Adams aggressively questioned a witness on the stand until she said, “Before I came here I smoked some marijuana and a blunt stick laced with PCP.” Other accusers interviewed by the AP say that, haunted by the attack, they have since slipped even deeper into the use of substances like cocaine.

These repeated references to drug use by the alleged victims made their way into a BBC article on the case—one of the few pieces of coverage of a trial that has otherwise been completely ignored by the mainstream media—headlined, “Daniel Holtzclaw trial: Standing with ‘imperfect’ accusers.”

“I think this is absolutely disgusting,” Camille Landry, co-convener of an Oklahoma City group called Occupy the Corners, said in response to the BBC article, “to suggest that a victim has to have certain attributes or behaviors in order to not be blamed for an assault against her.”

“Exactly what would a perfect victim be?” she asked. “How does one become perfect in anticipation of being victimized so that one is not blamed for her victimization?”

“It doesn’t matter what they were doing or what their past might have beenthese women were sexually assaulted by a man who was charged with serving and protecting them and who instead became a predator against them,” Landry told Rewire.

A close look at the state’s policing of drug-related offenses offers some insight into the context surrounding the threats Holtzclaw is accused of making, and the systems in place that his alleged victims may have been up against at the time of their encounter with the officer.

A 2014 study conducted by the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Sociology found that the state has the highest female incarceration rate in the country, locking up 130 women per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of 67 per 100,000 residents. About 1,000 women are admitted into Oklahoma’s prison system every year—half of them on drug-related charges.

“The number-one offense is possession,” Susan Sharp, a contributor to the study and author of the book Mean Lives, Mean Laws: Oklahoma’s Women Prisoners, told Rewire in a phone interview.

“Women are low-hanging fruit, they are easy to detect and prosecute, and they seldom have enough information to plea bargain with. The war on drugs is what has driven the high rate of female incarceration in this state.”

She said harsh drug sentencing laws are largely to blame for the fact that 2,400 women are currently locked up in jails and prisons across Oklahoma.

“In Oklahoma you can be charged with drug trafficking for possession of five grams of crack or 20 grams of methamphetamine, both of which are fairly low quantities,” explained Sharp, who is also a professor in the sociology department at the University of Oklahoma. She said policies like the 85 percent rule—originally intended to ensure that violent criminals served 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole, but which has now been extended to some drug-related offenses—ensure lengthy sentences for minor crimes.

While all low-income women are caught up this dragnet, she said, Black women tend to be disproportionately impacted, a reality that is not limited to Oklahoma.

Across the United States, the “war on drugs” has torn apart communities of color at a far higher rate than white communities, despite the fact that the government has repeatedly documented similar rates of drug use across racial groups.

A recent fact sheet by the Drug Policy Alliance revealed that 80 percent of the roughly 1.5 million drug-related arrests that happened in 2013 were on simple charges of possession. Black people comprise 30 percent of those arrested for drug law violations and 40 percent of those imprisoned on drug-related charges, even though they account for just 13 percent of the population.

Statistics are even grimmer for women. Between 1980 and 2002 the number of incarcerated women in the United States jumped from 12,300 to 182,271. During that time, incarceration rates for drug offenders ballooned by 888 percent, with women of color disproportionately impacted by the increase; the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that Black women are three times more likely to be locked up on drug charges than white women.

“In the last 20 years, Black women have comprised the largest group of people presenting in prisons, and much of that is driven by the war on drugs,” asha bandele, an author and senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Rewire.

A 2005 ACLU report titled Caught in the Net, the most recent comprehensive study on the impacts of the drug war on women, revealed that these racially lopsided numbers are not a coincidence. Rather they are the result of “racially targeted law enforcement practices, prosecutorial decisions, and sentencing policies,” which are exacerbated by “selective testing of pregnant women of color for drug use as well as heightened surveillance of poor mothers of color in the context of policing child abuse and neglect.”

Organizations like the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) have documented the ways in which Black women have borne the brunt of drug war policies like mandatory minimum sentencing laws “despite their peripheral involvement in the drug trade.”

A 2015 AAPF report highlighted how interactions with law enforcement personnel who regard Black women’s bodies as “vessels for drugs ingested, swallowed or concealed, or their homes as drug factories” have led to the deaths of Black girls as young as 7 and Black women as old as 92.

Hyper-policing of Black women under the guise of fighting the “war on drugs” also informs how women interact with the criminal justice system, legal experts say.

Citing a recent report on policing and domestic and sexual violence, Sandra Park, a senior attorney at the ACLU, told Rewire, “Survivors with criminal records or substance abuse issues, even if they have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence, tend not to reach out to the police because they know they are vulnerable to arrest.”

She added, “That issue is compounded when you are talking about a police officer like Daniel Holtzclaw, someone who can use stringent drug laws to help perpetuate or commit sexual assault.”

As witnesses in the Holtzclaw trial have testified, this same cycle of fear held true when it came to reporting the police officer’s alleged abuse. Under aggressive questioning by Holtzclaw’s attorney, several women on the stand confessed that they didn’t lodge official complaints because they were afraid to reveal their own drug problems, didn’t think the authorities would believe the word of a Black woman, or simply saw no purpose in reporting a crime to the very same institution that the alleged perpetrator was part of.

“What kind of police do you call on the police?” the 13th and final accuser said on the stand on Tuesday.

Damario Solomon-Simmons, a civil rights lawyer based in Tulsa who traveled to Oklahoma City together with National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump to witness the trial proceedings, said in an interview with NewsOne, “As Black men and lawyers, it was important that we attended the trial to both personally show solidarity.”

Asked about what he witnessed in the courtroom, Solomon-Simmons said, “Frankly, it was a surreal and disappointing scene that was more like 1915 than 2015 … while defendant Holtzclaw was allowed to attend the trial in a suit and free from handcuffs or restraints, some of the alleged victims were actually forced to testify while shackled and ‘dressed out’ in jail orange jumpsuits.”

He also noted his “disappointment” that the women did not appear to have adequate legal representation or the support they needed to navigate the complex proceedings.

In addition to a decades-long crackdown on narcotics, Oklahoma recently tightened regulations regarding the abuse of prescription drugs. The state ranks ninth nationally for overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers, or OPR, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, while local news reports suggest that the number of overdose deaths as a result of powerful prescription drugs has doubled in the past 12 years.

Last year the senate passed HB 2589, a bill that added morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and benzodiazepine to a list of controlled substances in Oklahoma’s Trafficking in Illegal Drugs Act. Ostensibly aimed at curbing overdose deaths, the legislation imposes a ten-year minimum sentence on individuals found to be in possession of legally stipulated quantities of the four additional substances. However, criminal justice experts fear the law will do nothing except add to the state’s prison population by policing and prosecuting users, rather than, for instance, the drug manufacturers.

The bill could have especially serious ramifications for communities of color, who are disproportionately cut off from health services and are unable to seek treatments or care for dependence on controlled substances. The Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates that over 20 percent of the state’s African-American population is uninsured, suggesting that once again Black people are more likely to feel the most impact of a crackdown on “drugs.”

By putting a health issue into the hands of law enforcement personnel, the state has effectively widened the scope for police officers to conduct searches in the name of public safety. In fact, a common thread running through the testimony against Holtzclaw is the allegation that he instructed women to remove their shirts, “lift up their breasts,” and even pull down their pants so he could search them for drugs, in one case reportedly shining a flashlight between a 57-year-old woman’s legs to satisfy his suspicions.

So far the prosecution has called more than 40 witnesses, while the defense is expected to produce up to 75. With the trial expected to carry on well into the month of December, activists who have mobilized to pack the courtroom, demonstrate outside the courthouse, and otherwise show their support for the accusers say they are ready for the long haul.

“It is traumatic, seeing what has happened to these women in our own backyard and knowing it could have been us,” Landry said. “I am 65 years old and I have been accosted by the police just driving down the street. Other Black women have had similar experiences. Grandmothers, women with gray hair, have shared stories of being thrown up against the hood of their car and patted down with their grandchildren in the backseat, on their way home from church or school or the grocery store.”

“Even people who have had a hard time getting involved in this kind of activism have come out and said, ‘This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is where I draw the line. This is where I stand up and say, stop,'” she said.

As of Tuesday evening, all of the alleged victims had taken the stand, including one girl who was just 17 years old at the time of the assault and whose DNA was found on the inside and outside of the former policeman’s trousers, a lead detective testified this week. Holtzclaw has pleaded not guilty to all 36 charges against him, which include battery, stalking, and forcible oral sodomy.