Virginia Cop Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Unarmed Black Teen
A circuit court jury found former Portsmouth police officer Stephen Rankin guilty for the killing of William Chapman in April of last year. It was the second time Rankin had killed an unarmed man while on duty. He now faces up to 10 years in prison, although the jury recommended just 2 1/2 years.
Earlier on Thursday, lawyers for Rankin had unsuccessfully urged the judge to declare a mistrial, citing video evidence showing a friend of Chapman’s family speaking to a juror. Rankin’s defense described this as a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the trial ― a charge that the friend denied.
Rankin, who was fired while he awaited trial, had originally been charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony.
On the morning of April 22, 2015, Rankin approached and tried to stop Chapman in the parking lot of a local Walmart to investigate a security guard’s accusations that the teen had shoplifted from the store. There is no video of the encounter between Chapman and Rankin, and some of the details remain disputed.