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Can 15 seconds of video be the deciding factor in a police officer’s murder case?

Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 18:52:41-05

Portsmouth, Va. - Lawyers spent about an hour arguing over 15 seconds of video, or more specifically, 15 seconds where video should be.

A report from the state lab shows experts downloaded several video clips from the Taser, but lawyers for former Portsmouth officer Stephen Rankin said the shooting itself is nowhere to be found.

And during that gap in recording, Rankin shot an unarmed man twice, killing him. Rankin was sent to a Portsmouth Walmart for a shoplifting call, and in a parking lot confronted William Chapman. That missing video could bolster the prosecution's murder case, or could show the former officer was justified in the shooting.

The lead prosecutor said the Taser company has been working for months to recover any missing data. She asked a judge for permission to do more testing. But it is testing she said might actually damage the evidence. Defense lawyers objected, saying they couldn't agree to anything that might destroy evidence until they first see the evidence.

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