Officer Who Killed Black Teen Convicted Of Manslaughter

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A former police officer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday after shooting an unarmed black teenager in a Walmart parking lot.

Former Officer Stephen Rankin was found guilty of killing 18-year-old William Chapman, reports the Washington Post. The jury recommended a sentence of two-and-a-half years in jail for Rankin, which was a quarter of what prosecutors suggested.

Judge Johnny Morrison will give Rankin a formal sentencing Oct. 12.

“It’s not enough,” Sallie Chapman, Chapman’s mother, told the Virginian Pilot.

Rankin shot Chapman in a Walmart parking lot in 2015. The day of the shooting, Rankin received a phone call about a suspected shoplifting. When Rankin arrived on the scene, he saw Chapman walking through the parking lot.

In his court testimony, Rankin said that he went went up to Chapman and told him, “I suppose you know why I am here.” Rankin claimed that Chapman reached into his left pocket, which made Rankin believe that Chapman needed to be detained.

Rankin pulled Chapman onto the hood of his police car and alleged that Chapman tried to get away.

“Take your hand out of your pocket or I’m going to tase you,” Rankin said to Chapman. Rankin ended up tasing Chapman, which led to a fight between the two.

Rankin lost his taser in the fight and pulled a gun on Chapman, who was standing about six feet away from Rankin. Rankin claimed even though he ordered Chapman to the ground, Chapman taunted him and charged him “aggressively.”

“I wish I could have done more than I did to try and keep him alive. I did everything that I could,” Rankin said on the stand.

Rankin also shot and killed a suspect in 2011. He fatally shot Kirill Denyakin 11 times because he believed Denyakin was reaching for a weapon.

Rankin was not indicted in that case and two civil juries declared him not guilty.

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