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Attorney: Murder trial unsafe for former officer

NORFOLK (AP) The attorney for a former Portsmouth police officer charged with murder says his client’s upcoming trial will be unsafe in the wake of attacks on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that attorney James Broccoletti filed motions to postpone next week’s scheduled trial for Stephen Rankin. A judge in Portsmouth will consider the arguments on July 26, a day before the first-degree murder trial is set to start.

Broccoletti tried and failed to win a delay with a similar argument following the shootings of police officers in Dallas.

The case against Rankin stems from his fatal shooting last year of 18-year-old William Chapman II in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. The officer was investigating a report of shoplifting when Chapman became combative, some witnesses said.

 

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