Stephen Rankin, a Portsmouth, Virginia police officer on trial for the murder of an 18-year-old, told a witness “this is my second one.”
Rankin’s trial for killing William Chapman in a Wal-Mart parking lot started on Wednesday with several protesters outside the court holding signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”
The comment, which was made to a store employee and recorded by his Taser’s camera just seconds after he killed the unarmed black man, was played to the court at a Tuesday pretrial hearing.
“This statement is not probative of anything,” said James Broccoletti, Rankin’s lead attorney, according to the Guardian.
However, Virginia 3rd Circuit Court Judge Johnny E. Morrison denied the motion, agreeing with prosecutors, who argued they should not have to sanitize evidence surrounding the shooting.
Rankin’s comments apparently referred to the 2011 fatal shooting of Kirill Denyakin, a 26-year-old hotel cook from Kazhakstan. Charges were never brought against Rankin, who said that Denyakin had reached into his waistband and charged at him before the officer shot him 11 times.
Rankin, 36, denies the charges, saying that he shot in self-defense when Chapman attacked him when he was trying to arrest the teenager for suspected shoplifting.
Several motions were argued in court on Tuesday, including a request from Rankin’s defense for the state to release Chapman’s juvenile criminal record. Morrison granted the motion. Prosecutors asked that the contents of Chapman’s backpack be excluded from evidence, a motion that Morrison also granted.
Rankin’s trial officially began on Wednesday morning with jury selection. Morrison ruled on Tuesday that jurors would remain anonymous during the trial.