Target: Stephanie Morales, Portsmouth Commonwealth Attorney
Goal: Praise conviction of police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed suspect.
The police officer who shot and killed an unarmed young man is going to jail. Portsmouth, Virginia police officer Stephen Rankin will be serving time after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter in the death of William Chapman II.
The incident began when Rankin received a call about a suspected shoplifting at a local Walmart. In the parking lot, Rankin confronted Chapman, whom he suspected of being the perpetrator. Chapman became unruly, and the confrontation quickly became violent. Despite receiving Navy training and having a clear size advantage over Chapman, Rankin drew his gun and killed the young man.
After a lengthy trial, a jury decided that Rankin’s claims that the shooting was justified were untrue and convicted him of voluntary manslaughter. In her closing argument, Portsmouth Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales noted “The law does not say that because you do not comply, you have to die.”
As reports of police brutality and uses of excessive force continue to climb, such a conviction is an extremely encouraging sign. Sign the petition below and thank the prosecuting attorneys for bringing this man to justice.
Dear Ms. Morales,
I am writing to commend your work on the case involving the deadly confrontation between officer Stephen Rankin and William Chapman II. Rankin, a trained and armed officer, had no reason to shoot and kill Chapman, a younger and unarmed man, and your diligent prosecution on this case has ensured that this violent man will be held accountable for his misconduct.
As you so eloquently noted in your closing argument, resisting arrest is not grounds for immediate execution. At a time when similar cases involving the shooting of unarmed civilians are going unpunished, this recent conviction is an extremely encouraging sign.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Beth Cortez-Neavel