Stephen Rankin’s attorney requests independent analysis of taser video, including missing seconds

Posted at 1:07 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 10:47:57-05

Portsmouth, Va. - Former Portsmouth Police officer Stephen Rankin's attorney has filed a motion for an independent analysis of evidence prior to his next trial.

One of the requests for evidence includes 15 seconds of video of when the shooting occurred that were not provided to the defense, according to the motion.

"There is a 15 second window [...] that was not provided and, apparently, not extracted from the taser camera," the document reads.

This kind of footage can prove a police officer was right, or that he overreacted. It the kind of footage that is the center of this controversial murder case.

Prosecutors say Officer Stephen Rankin went too far when he shot to death an unarmed man named William Chapman. The two came face-to-face in a parking lot when the officer was sent to Walmart to check into a shoplifting call.

According to the officer's attorney, the Taser was recording when the confrontation turned into gunfire. However, the crucial few seconds during the shooting are nowhere to be found.

Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales wrote in a court document that the Taser video was "corrupt" and that the gap in recording was not because the evidence was "edited or manipulated." Still, according to the newest filing, a state analyst said the Taser might have "additional evidence" stored in its memory. She's asking to send the stun gun back to the company and its experts.

The court filings also show someone watched the video before the Taser was sent to the state lab.

The prosecutor wrote that state police -- brought in to investigate -- declined the Portsmouth Police Department's offer to download the Taser footage, but asked only to view it.

This request for help from a Taser expert could be handled by a judge tomorrow morning.


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