All we can say is: What took so long? Officer Stephen Rankin was finally indicted today in Portsmouth, Virginia. Officer Rankin has the distinction of killing two unarmed men in less than four years. In April 2015 he killed teen William Chapman. In April 2011 Rankin killed Kirill Denyakin. Rankin also has the distinction of being a smart-ass on his facebook page and has posted on death and lynching. Funny that when you have one of the most important jobs in our society no one even noticed.
Rankin’s ability to shoot unarmed people dead after responding to non-violent related 911 calls that so many of our police have to handle is simply uncanny. Hopefully Portsmouth won’t be dumb enough to put Rankin back out on the street if he gets off again after killing a second person, which is the likely outcome.
The good news is that the indictment indicates that Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales is awake. It also indicates that voting actually matters — unfortunately that’s sometimes a debatable point. It’s pretty certain that if Morales was not the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Rankin would be back on the job as if nothing happened.
Indictments of police officers are very rare no matter what the circumstances. In this case, Rankin was called to the scene because a teenager, William Chapman was shoplifting a a WalMart. It has not been established that Chapman stole anything. In what world do we live in where handling an alleged shoplifter has to end in someone being shot in the head? Last time Rankin shot someone it was a disturbing the peace call.