White police officer described as ‘dangerous person’ kills a second unarmed man
Every parent’s nightmare is waking up to discover their child would never again come home. In April 2015, Sally Chapman woke up to this reality as she heard on the news of a young man being killed at a Walmart that she knew her son had previously shopped. After hours of not hearing from her son, she called 911 and gave the operator her son’s name. Hours later she was contacted by detectives confirming her worst fears: the man she heard about on the news earlier that day was her son.
Eighteen-year-old William Chapman was shot in the chest and the face by Stephen Rankin during an alleged struggle in the parking lot of a Walmart. Chapman had been suspected of shoplifting. As in so many other cases, the officer who killed Chapman suggested that he felt threatened because the victim resisted arrest.
Leadership of the police department were “formally warned” by Rankin’s superiors that he was a dangerous person and “likely to cause someone harm.” This was not the first time Officer Rankin killed an unarmed man. In February 2011, Rankin shot another man 11 times for which he was banned from patrolling the streets for nearly three years. Rankin was previously disciplined for posting Nazi images and violent remarks online. According to the Guardian, some of the remarks made online included insults to the 26-year-old man he had killed and his family after they filed a civil lawsuit for $22 million. “22 mil won’t buy your boy back,” Rankin stated. “Most Americans could not hope to earn that in an entire career let alone a habitual drunk working as a hotel cook.”
Officer Rankin claims that Chapman was resisting arrest. And, as though it was a text-book narrative, “witnesses” say that 18-year-old Chapman wrestled away from Rankin and “took a couple of steps towards the cop like he was ready to fight.”
Although a funeral was held for Chapman, he has yet to be buried because of the family’s inability to afford the expenses. Sallie Chapman has not been allowed to see the Walmart surveillance footage and has yet been given an explanation as to why she was never notified. Chapman only discovered her son had been killed after calling 911 to report him missing. The shooting is still under investigation by the Virginia State Police.