PORTSMOUTH, Va. – For the first time, we’re hearing from former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin.
He’s been behind bars for almost a month after being sentenced for shooting and killing 18-year-old William Chapman.
“I did exactly what I was trained to do. I followed the policy step by step and training step by step. I followed the law,” Rankin told film crews.
After months of staying quite, and avoiding the media, he defended himself to the BBC in a documentary called “Unarmed Black Male.”
BBC profiled his case, using it as an example of the one of the hundreds of police shootings last year.
“There are so many people out there that are trying to kill you for no reason. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been assaulted on the job. It’s part of the job,” Rankin said.
Back in 2015, Rankin shot and killed William Chapman in the Walmart parking lot on Frederick Boulevard after a shoplifting call.
Chapman didn’t have a weapon.
The BBC also spoke to Chapman’s mother, Candy.
“I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t ant it to be true,” Candy said.
A large portion of the film focused on the trial, honing in on Rankin’s testimony.
“I didn’t find out that I was going to take the stand until a week before the trial. Everyone assumed I just knew, so it kind of got dropped on me,” Rankin said.
Rankin’s wife, Dawn, was by his side, and is happy with the way the documentary turned out.
“They did what they were supposed to do. They got people that liked him and people that thought he was not so nice. They did it fairly. I don’t think they portrayed him in any negative way. I think it was just the information they had, and this is what they put out,” Dawn told News 3.
Rankin will serve two and a half years in prison. While he’s serving time, his lawyers will continue filing their appeal.