- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A prosecutor has requested that a judge limit the number of uniformed law enforcement officers at a Portsmouth police officer’s first-degree murder trial.

The Virginian-Pilot reports (http://bit.ly/247Kwep ) that Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales said in a motion that she worries the presence of a large number of uniformed officers at Stephen Rankin’s trial could have a “chilling effect” on the jury.

Morales asked the judge to limit the number of uniformed officers to 10 and prevent them from sitting in groups of four or more.

James Broccoletti, Rankin’s defense attorney, disagrees with the request, saying it’s a public trial.

Rankin, who’s white, is charged in the April 22 shooting death of an 18-year-old black man in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A trial is set for March 21.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com

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