The killings of two unarmed black men by white police officers in Missouri and New York this summer touched off protests and a national debate over police conduct that intensified after grand juries refused to indict the officers.
Tensions escalated further after two New York City police officers were killed a week ago by a man who suggested in online posts that their deaths were in retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. The gunman committed suicide.
Some key developments in the aftermath of the tragedies:
SLAIN OFFICER’S FUNERAL
Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke Saturday morning at the funeral for Officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot to death a week ago along with his partner in a daylight ambush. Hundreds of officers, family members and friends were inside Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, while thousands of officers watched the service outside on giant screens.
De Blasio has been criticized by the police union for his handling of protests in the wake of Garner’s death and the subsequent grand jury decision.
On Friday, thousands of uniformed police officers from New York City and around the country attended the eight-hour wake. Colleagues described him as a selfless, compassionate man.
The funeral for Ramos’ partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, hasn’t yet been announced.
HELP FROM JETBLUE
JetBlue Airways 730 officers from law enforcement agencies across the country for Ramos’ wake and funeral.
Spokesman Morgan Johnston said the New York-based airline committed to finding space for two officers per agency that wanted to send representatives. Officers from departments big and small departed airports in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
RALLIES SUPPORTING POLICE
A Cleveland police dispatcher has organized a rally scheduled for Saturday in support of officers. Mary Jo Graves organized the Sea of Blue Support rally at the city’s Public Square on Facebook, where 4,000 people have indicated they plan to attend.
Meanwhile, about 200 people gathered on the Atlantic City boardwalk in New Jersey on Friday to show solidarity with local police departments. They stressed various efforts made by police to unite communities and make them safer.
RALLIES CRITICAL OF POLICE
Family members and other supporters of a black Milwaukee man who was shot and killed by a white officer are expected to attend a Saturday morning rally in Chicago with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Former Milwaukee officer Christopher Manney shot Dontre Hamilton in a downtown park in April. Manney was fired in October for ignoring department policy, and the county district attorney announced Monday that he would not file charges against Manney because Manney acted in self-defense.
Hamilton’s family has said the 31-year-old suffered from schizophrenia. Federal investigators have said they’ll look into the shooting.
The New York Police Department says it has arrested seven people accused of threatening officers in the week since Officers Ramos and Liu were killed.
In Connecticut, police charged a man Friday with calling 911 and threatening to kill police officers and their families in retaliation for the killings of Brown and Garner. State police say Alexander Rosa was detained on $75,000 bail and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
BROWN MEMORIAL RESTORED
A makeshift memorial to Michael Brown was restored by his supporters on Friday after it was apparently hit by a car. Social media reports about damage to the memorial in Ferguson, Missouri, started early Friday and supporters were out before dawn rebuilding it.
It is not known who struck the memorial, which went up soon after Brown was killed in August.