A Virginia police officer was indicted on first-degree murder charges on Thursday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
Officer Stephen Rankin killed William Chapman II, 18, while responding to a burglary call at a Walmart store parking lot on 23 April.
The teen was shot twice, once in the face and in the chest, according to the teen's autopsy obtained by the Guardian. The report revealed that the Portsmouth officer killed the young man from a distance. The teen’s toxicology report also showed no indication of drugs or alcohol in his system.
In 2011, Officer Rankin killed another Kirill Denyakin, 26, who was also unarmed. A grand jury later cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Rankin was suspended nearly a month after the shooting and under investigation by his department over Facebook posts that supposedly condoned lynching. One image depicted a black man hanging from a pole with the words: "Love is... doing anything that's necessary."
Rankin was then placed on desk duty for more than two years. He was sent back to regular duty in March 2014.
The Denyakin family attorney Carlton Bennett recently told ABC13 that he was not at all surprised that the officer killed another unarmed suspect.
"I was totally unsurprised. I thought he would do this again. He was a loose cannon and I believe he'll do it again if he gets the chance. I can't believe the police department allowed him back on the street with a gun," he said.
Still, Rankin's attorney Nicole Belote told WAVY-TV that she was surprised by the charges against the officer, who was also fired from his department Thursday.
Sallie Chapman, the teen's mother, told reporters that she felt justified by the indictment.Reuse content