Virginia Police Officer Stephen D. Rankin Indicted in Shooting Death of Unarmed Black Teen

Stephen D. Rankin; William Chapman ll  CBS NEWS SCREENSHOT
Stephen D. Rankin; William Chapman ll
CBS NEWS SCREENSHOT

A grand jury has decided to indict a Virginia police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen in a Wal-Mart parking lot, the Associated Press reports. 

Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen D. Rankin was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and using a gun in a felony in the shooting death of 18-year-old William Chapman II, who was killed April 22.

According to the report, Nicole Belote, who is representing Rankin, said that she was surprised by the indictment on first-degree murder, saying, “The facts do not support such a charge.

“We will continue to prepare for trial and zealously defend Officer Rankin,” she told the Virginian-Pilot, according to AP.

Chapman was suspected of shoplifting at the Wal-Mart store, prompting police response. Rankin fired his weapon at the teen twice, claiming that he had resisted arrest.

This is reportedly not Rankin’s first time killing an unarmed suspect. In 2011 he was cleared of the 2011 shooting death of Kirill Denyakin. Rankin claimed that the Kazakhstani national charged at him and would not take his hand out of his pants. Denyakin was shot 11 times. Rankin was cleared after evidence showed that Denyakin had almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system and had a history of making violent threats, NBC News notes.

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Source: The Root | BREANNA EDWARDS

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