Rare Conviction Made in Shooting by Virginia Police Officer

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors in Virginia have won a rare conviction of a white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen suspected of shoplifting.

The guilty verdict Thursday was for voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge than the original first-degree murder count. And the jury recommended a 2 ½ year prison sentence for Stephen Rankin, a punishment far below the decade prosecutors had sought.

The outcome is typical of the rare conviction that follows a shooting by police, said Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Rankin’s formal sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12. A judge cannot increase the jury’s recommended sentence, but he could reduce it.

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