Virginia ex-cop gets 2-1/2 year sentence
for black teen's shooting death
Send a link to a friend
[October 13, 2016]
(Reuters) - A former Portsmouth,
Virginia, police officer was sentenced on Wednesday to 2-1/2 years in
prison for the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last year, a
court spokesman said.
The ex-officer, Stephen Rankin, 36, was convicted of voluntary
manslaughter in August for shooting William Chapman II, 18, while
investigating a shoplifting report at a Walmart store.
Portsmouth Circuit Court Judge Johnny Morrison denied a request by
Rankin's lawyer that he remain free while his conviction is appealed,
the spokesman said in a telephone call.
Rankin, who is white, was fired by the Portsmouth police department
after his grand jury indictment. Prosecutors argued that Rankin had
killed Chapman in April 2015 in what had amounted to little more than a
parking lot fistfight in Portsmouth, about 175 miles south of
The sentencing came amid a roiling U.S. debate over police use of deadly
force, especially against African-Americans. A Washington Post database
showed that 754 people have been fatally shot by police this year, with
24 percent of them black.
[to top of second column]
Rankin is among 26 officers to be convicted of murder or
manslaughter for an on-duty shooting out of 77 charged since 2005,
Phillip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at
Ohio's Bowling Green State University, said in a telephone call.
Twenty-nine of the charges were leveled in the last two years alone,
but Stinson said the numbers were too small to indicate a trend of
officers being charged.
Rankin had shot and killed an unarmed man in 2011 while responding
to a burglary call. No charges were filed over that shooting, and
Rankin won a related civil trial.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.