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BBC This World – Unarmed Black Male (2016)

BBC This World 2016 Unarmed Black Male

Film following the murder trial of a white police officer in Portsmouth, Virginia, accused of shooting an unarmed black teenager. On 22 April 2015, Officer Stephen Rankin responded to a report of shoplifting at a Walmart store. Minutes after arriving in the parking lot, he shot and killed William Chapman.

After Chapman’s death, Rankin was fired from Portsmouth Police Department and charged with first-degree murder. Chapman was just one of 306 black men who were killed by police in the US last year, but just 14 police officers faced any charges – Rankin was one of them.

With extraordinary access to the prosecution and defence, as well as Chapman’s family and friends and those closest to Officer Rankin, this powerful 90-minute documentary from award-winning filmmaker James Jones forensically follows the drama as the trial unfolds and unpicks Rankin’s troubling prior record in the police department.

During a summer of increasing tension across America, this film explores the reaction of a divided community to the prosecution of a local police officer.

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