PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — It’s a familiar story: an unarmed black male killed at the hands of a white law enforcement officer. But it didn’t take place in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, or any of the other cities most recently at the center of discussions about police use of force and race.
William Chapman II died last year in Portsmouth, Virginia, a majority-black city of 100,000 that while not in the spotlight, has been deeply ensconced in such discussions. For many black leaders there, former Officer Stephen Rankin’s rare trial on first-degree murder charges this week will be nothing less than a referendum on a criminal justice system they say often fails to hold police accountable.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Wednesday for Rankin, who shot the 18-year-old Chapman outside a Wal-Mart last year.