Notable developments in tensions between police, communities

AP News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2015 10:55 PM
Notable developments in tensions between police, communities

The killings of two unarmed black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City this summer touched off protests and a national debate over police conduct that intensified after grand juries declined to indict the officers.

Tensions escalated further after two New York Police Department officers were killed last month by a man who suggested in online posts their slayings were in retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, and of Eric Garner in New York. The gunman, who was black, committed suicide.

Some key developments amid the tension between police and communities:

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POLICE SHOOTING ARRAIGNMENTS

New York City prosecutors say one man has been charged with attempted murder and another with burglary in a bodega robbery and shootout in which two police officers were wounded.

The men were arraigned Wednesday. A criminal complaint says one man shot an officer in his elbow and back and shot the other officer in his arm and chest Monday. It says he then forced people out of a car at gunpoint before crashing it blocks away.

Another complaint says the other man used a gun to rob the store's cash register.

The men were arrested Tuesday.

NYPD officials praised five officers for choosing to respond to the robbery report even though their shifts had ended.

The wounded officers were hospitalized, and one has been released.

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MAN ACCUSED OF TERRORISTIC THREATS

Authorities say they've arrested a man who crashed his car into two parked vehicles and a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police car and then made anti-police statements.

Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo says the man claimed he had smoked PCP and "wanted to take out a police officer" Wednesday night near the Holland Tunnel. He says officers found what appeared to be synthetic marijuana in the car.

The man was arrested on charges of attempted aggravated assault, terroristic threats and reckless driving. He's been hospitalized.

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PROTESTORS DISRUPT LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The start of Missouri's legislative session was interrupted Wednesday by demonstrators who chanted and unfurled banners in the Senate while protesting Brown's shooting.

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who was presiding over the chamber, said demonstrators were violating Senate rules of decorum and ordered proceedings suspended while police cleared people from the visitors' galleries. The Senate resumed after about 30 minutes. No one was arrested.

Demonstrators vowed to return to the Capitol throughout this year's session as lawmakers consider numerous bills stemming from the Aug. 9 shooting.

"Our hope is they take what we did seriously," said a protest leader, Kayla Reed, of the Organization for Black Struggle.

Demonstrators distributed a 28-point plan for changes to police practices, including anti-racism training, greater citizen oversight of police agencies and an end to the police acquisition of military-grade equipment.

The officer who killed Brown said he couldn't have done anything differently in their confrontation, and he resigned.

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TRAFFIC STOP SHOOTING RULED JUSTIFIED

A Montana police officer was justified in shooting and killing an unarmed man during a traffic stop, a coroner's inquest has determined. A jury delivered its decision Wednesday.

Billings police Officer Grant Morrison had testified he feared for his life when he fired the three shots that killed Richard Ramirez.

Morrison said he became convinced Ramirez had a gun after Ramirez reached for his waistband during their brief encounter last April.

Police video showed Morrison repeatedly ordered Ramirez and other occupants of the vehicle to raise their hands. Morrison said Ramirez dropped his left hand to his side, out of his view, and "started to jiggle it up and down."

"I knew in that moment, which later was determined to be untrue, but I knew in that moment that he was reaching for a gun," Morrison said. "I couldn't take that risk. ... I wanted to see my son grow up."

The person sitting next to Ramirez said Ramirez was trying to unbuckle his seatbelt when he was shot.

Ramirez's family wanted criminal charges against Morrison and said the half-Mexican Ramirez was a victim of racial profiling. They said they intend to file a lawsuit.