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Community activists banned from Walmart where teen was killed by police

Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 18:04:14-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Two community activists were given trespassing charges after attempting to shop at a local Walmart.

The store on Frederick Boulevard is the same location where William Chapman was shot and killed in the parking lot in April 2015 by former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin.

Rankin was convicted last week for voluntary manslaughter.

President of the local Portsmouth Chapter of the NAACP James Boyd and co-founder of the Coalition of Black Americans Louie Gibbs said they went to Walmart Sunday after they got word about a possible protest.

Boyd said, "We were literally down there just to make sure things were fine if, in fact, there was a protest."

Boyd and Gibbs said there were only a few people at the protest and the situation escalated when one man tried to go inside to buy water. They said Walmart management wouldn’t let him in and closed the store early.

Related: Portsmouth Walmart reopens after closing temporarily because of security concerns

Walmart issued the following statement:

"Given the heightened emotions in the community, we have closed our store temporarily because of security concerns. We apologize for any inconvenience, but our first responsibility is always the safety of our customers and associates. We hope the store will re-open quickly."

Walmart reopened Monday and Boyd and Gibbs went back to the store, they say to shop, but problems continued.

Police said they were banned from the property yesterday and issued citations for trespassing after they refused to leave Monday.

Boyd and Gibbs dispute the accusations and said they approached the officers to ask questions.

"The Portsmouth Police Department has handled themselves excellently, I mean they got called in to show up, you know. My beef isn’t with police, my beef is with Walmart," said Gibbs.

Gibbs said they don’t understand what they did wrong.

Walmart has refused to answer any of our questions regarding the situation.

"I am shocked, I'm shocked that we are treated like this, I mean, literally just going to buy something," said Boyd.

"This is foolishness and again this is a store shopping all the time," said Gibbs.

Now the men have to go to court Friday for the trespassing citations.