“If you can have a birthday wish come true, what would it be?” I asked Officer Daniel Holtzclaw. “To be acquitted,” he answered.
Three years ago today, on his 29th birthday, Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of crimes he did not commit. He is one of the many men to suffer the effects of leftist man-hating mobs. He was masculine in appearance, so of course he was guilty, the lead detective surmised. That, plus the supposed victims were all black, so he was presumed racist by the media. Presumption of innocence was all but trampled in his case. He was guilted in effigy.
This week Officer Holtzclaw will miss out on yet another birthday celebration with his friends and family. He will spend his 32nd birthday behind bars. Not because he deserves it, no. But because no one has been able to save him from the flawed justice system that allows men and women to rot in prison for years without reasonably expeditious recourse for wrongful convictions, but I digress. This column is about a birthday.
Officer Daniel Holtzclaw turns 32 today, but he tells me that he doesn’t like to think about it. It’s a heartbreaking day for him. Today is the third anniversary of the day that he cried in disbelief as his life was taken from him by unsubstantiated convictions. Today, Daniel tries to forget being torn away from his family on his birthday. “I try to force my mind to forget my birthday since it was the day I was falsely sentenced,” he laments.
Time with his family is the part of life that Daniel misses the most while in serving out the remainder of his life in prison. “I wish I can spend the day with my family and loved ones at home,” Officer Holtzclaw stated when I asked what he wished he can do on his birthday that is not permitted behind bars.
Officer Holtzclaw remains a good son, still hoping to please his mother and father, both police officers. “I wish I can eat my mom’s German chocolate cake for my birthday,” he says, “it is my favorite and my dad also likes it a lot.” But prison is not a place where birthdays end with candles and cake. Daniel may never taste his mother’s cake ever again, sentenced to 263 birthdays behind bars.
In the darkest of life’s circumstances, Officer Holtzclaw remains optimistic and hopeful that someone will be able to help change his fate. “For me to survive, I have to think positive and clear my mind of negative issues. In prison, I can’t weigh in on negative thoughts,” he explains.
Unfortunately, the negative reality is undeniable. Officer Holtzclaw will not get to spend his birthday with friends or family. He will not enjoy celebrating with his favorite chocolate cake. Officer Holtzclaw will be spending yet another birthday behind prison bars.
“Happy birthday, Daniel,” seems like the wrong thing to say to the innocent police officer spending a birthday behind bars. “I hope your birthday wish comes true,” I say instead.