Virginia Officer Stephen Rankin Found Guilty Of Manslaughter


William Chapman

It began on April 22, 2015 in a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Police received a call of a shoplifter.  Portsmouth police officer Stephen Rankin came to the scene and saw 18-year old William Chapman walking in the parking lot.  William was wearing a backpack.  Rankin stopped Chapman on suspicion of shoplifting.  William denied that he shoplifted anything.

The situation ended with Rankin shooting William twice, once in the chest, and once in the face.  The coroner found that William was handcuffed when he was shot.  No stolen property was found on William.  An autopsy report found that the shots were not fired at close range, which contradicted Rankin’s story that William was close to him, failed to comply with his demands, and lunged at him.  A video of Rankin’s taser was examined.

An investigation was held that was completed on August 21, 2015.   A grand jury indicted Rankin.  He was charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony.


Kirill Denyakin

It was not the first time that Rankin killed a suspect.  Four years before killing William Chapman Rankin killed 26-year old Kirill Denyakin, a Kazakhstani national who worked as a hotel cook.  Kirill was unarmed.  In 2011, Rankin shot Denyakin 11 times.  Chapman’s version was that Denyakin went into his waistband, giving him reason to believe that he had a gun. A grand jury did not indict Rankin in that case.  However, Rankin was disciplined for posting violent remarks and Nazi images online.  He was taken off the streets, barred from patrolling, for 3 years.

After the indictment for killing William, Rankin was terminated from his job as a police officer. The judge denied the prosecution from bringing forth Rankin’s past killing and social media postings at trial.

Commonwealth attorney Stephanie Morales said during closing argument on Tuesday;

“The law does not say that because you do not comply you have to die.”

A jury of 7 women and 5 men deliberated 13 hours and on Thursday, August 4, 2016, found former police officer Stephen Rankin guilty of voluntary manslaughter.   The court immediately held sentencing and the jury left to deliberate.  They returned with a recommendation that Rankin serve two and a half years in prison. Judge Johnny Morrison will formally sentence Rankin on Oct. 12. The judge can sentence Rankin to less time than what the jury recommended, but not more.

Rankin will remain out on bond until his formal sentencing on October 12, 2016.

Posted on 08/05/2016, in Cases, Cops Gone Wild, Trial Videos, Trials and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. roderick2012

    This is just another example of a black man’s life being worth less than property.

    Just like when Christian Taylor was killed because he had destroyed some property on a car lot in Arlingon, TX.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Roderick. It certainly sounds like Rankin’s actions were deliberate. Two and a half years for taking a life just doesn’t sound right. Nevertheless, I hope the judge takes the recommendation and does not lesser the sentence.

      In an hour or so, I’m posting about another verdict that came down this week. It happened in Baltimore. Those supporting the Baltimore 6 and criticizing State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby have been silent about the Cagle case.


  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    I had not followed the Rankin case and appreciate your informative article, Xena.

    “The situation ended with Rankin shooting William twice, once in the chest, and once in the face. The coroner found that William was handcuffed when he was shot.”

    So scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Yahtzee! I have several suspicions about why there are cases that are not widely reported in the media. But, they are only my suspicions. The least amount of evidence released to the public, the lesser chance that arm-chair sleuths will try litigating the case on social media. It also provides some protection to the grieving family to not be attacked on social media. Of course, that applies when victims are Black because those denigrating Black victims and their families on social media don’t denigrate White victims — as you might gather in my most recent post about a Baltimore case.


  3. Less than 3 years ……… ” I give up *

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Ren! I hear ya. Just to think, it is what the jury suggested — the same jury that found Rankin guilty of manslaughter. In my humble opinion, the jury rated William’s life expendable while deciding that Rankin should be punished for his lies.


      • Can’t agree more. What would have happened if Rankin said I shot for telling me he didn’t shoplift……….but I didn’t believe him.


        • Haha Racer. I don’t think that would be a “justifiable” excuse, such as saying “He lunged at me and I feared for my life.” What I wonder about more, is how do those who call 911 feel after an innocent “suspect” has been killed? Do they sleep nights? Do they regret jumping to conclusions and calling 911?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Two sides to a story

            More people should think twice about calling 911 for anything but truly serious emergencies. Tragedies can be averted by NOT involving cops.


            • Two sides. You hit the proverbial nail on the head. There’s current talk about “community policing” but many urban communities learned decades ago that such calls about suspicious people or activity can end badly. There’s a history too in some urban cities where the cops interrogate the people reporting crime more than showing interest in the crime.


    • I hear ya…….If I punch someone for……say, slamming a shopping cart into my car…..and lets say, my wife…..I get 5 years, no if’s, ands or but’s about it. This cop planned this since Chapman was cuffed and nothing illegal involved was found to be.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. omg, for taking the life of a human being. “They returned with a recommendation that Rankin serve two and a half years in prison. Judge Johnny Morrison will formally sentence Rankin on Oct. 12. The judge can sentence Rankin to less time than what the jury recommended, but not more.”


  5. off topic but there were stories this week of both Dylann Roof and Zimmerslime being punched


  6. Two sides to a story

    Way too many cops seem to kill because they WANT to. At least this one got some just rewards. If only all would be held accountable. If only we had swift LE and justice system reform.


    • Two sides to a story

      PS – not enough time, but we can be glad the courts are doing something!


    • Hey Two sides. Indeed. Reform is needed, but any reform that does not include public participation disregards public perception, and that perception is necessary in order for law enforcement and citizens to work together. As one example, we’re going through a local situation now where a cop involved in killing 4 unarmed men (separate incidents) is trying to get his job back. If he’s allowed to come back on duty, it can impugn the entire police force.


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