White Portsmouth, Va., Cop Charged with Murder in Killing of Black Alleged Wal-Mart Shoplifter

William Chapman (Courtesy Photo)
William Chapman (Courtesy Photo)


(The Washington Post) – A grand jury has charged a white Portsmouth, Va., police officer with first degree murder in connection with the killing of an 18-year old African American man who was suspected of shoplifting at a Wal-Mart.

The shooting took place on April 22, after Wal-Mart security called the police to report a shoplifting. The officer who arrived on the scene confronted William Lester Chapman II in the parking lot. At the time, witnesses claimed a scuffle followed and that the man charged the officer, before the officer fired two shots at Chapman, hitting him in the face and chest.

When Chapman’s body was taken to the medical examiner his hands were cuffed behind his back, however. And according to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, a medical examiner’s report showed “no evidence of close range fire” by the officer.

The officer, Stephen David Rankin, 36, faces charges of first degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. Interim Police Chief Dennis Mook said Rankin has now been fired.


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