Dec 23, 2014 2:07 AM
Key developments in case of 2 slain NYPD officers
The Associated Press
New York police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the final act in a rampage that began when he shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend at her home outside Baltimore, then made threatening posts online, including a vow to put "wings on pigs" and references to high-profile cases of white police officers killing unarmed black men. After shooting the officers, Brinsley ran into a subway station and committed suicide.
The killings have raised concerns and tempers in the already tense nationwide debate surrounding police conduct. Some key developments after the weekend shooting in New York:
AMID CALLS FOR RESTRAINT, PROTESTS GO ON
Despite calls from New York's governor, the city's mayor and others calling for restraint, hundreds of protesters marched through midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night, with some holding signs saying "Jail Killer Cops."
The protesters were mostly peaceful as they wound through the city's bustling shopping district.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday called for a pause in protests over police conduct. He faces a widening rift with those in a grieving police force who accuse him of creating a climate of mistrust that contributed to the killings of the officers.
Police Commissioner William Bratton, speaking Tuesday in Rhode Island, said it was "unfortunate" that some protests continued despite the mayor's plea.
ON HIGH ALERT
Security was increased at some police stationhouses as authorities investigated threats made since the shootings, and at least two people were arrested over threats.
An 18-year-old who posted a threatening message on his Facebook profile was facing charges of terroristic threats and man who walked into a police precinct and suggested he would punch officers was arrested, authorities said.
Police did not detail the threats that prompted Emergency Services Unit officers to provide additional protection at two precincts in Brooklyn, where Liu and Ramos were slain.
De Blasio denounced the threats Wednesday and said the city "will protect the men and women who protect us."
"New York City stands with our police officers in this time of tragedy, as we do every day, and our city will not be intimidated by those spouting hateful, violent messages," he said in a statement.
In Colorado, a 33-year-old military veteran was arrested Monday for posting online threats calling for the killing of current and former police officers under the name "Vets Hunting Cops."
And in Northern California, presidents of the three biggest Northern California police unions warned in a letter posted online Tuesday that recent anti-police sentiments are threatening officers' safety. Recent demonstrations against police brutality have devolved into tasteless vilification of officers, including chants calling for dead police officers, the union heads said.
TRIBUTES, MEMORIAL VISITS
Landmarks including the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dimmed their lights from 9 p.m. to 9:05 p.m. Tuesday to honor the slain officers.
A makeshift memorial has sprung up at the sight of the shooting, crammed with flowers, cards and candles. A daughter of Eric Garner, killed in a police chokehold, placed a candle at the site Monday and said she was touched by the message Ramos' young son posted online.
"It hit my heart," Emerald Snipes said.
The mayor and his wife quietly visited the site of the shooting on Tuesday morning, spending several minutes there.
De Blasio folded his hands before him and stood with his head bowed. His wife placed flowers among dozens of tributes.
Later, de Blasio observed a moment of silence at 2:47 p.m., the time the officers were shot.
FUNERALS AND HELP FOR FAMILIES
A wake for Ramos will be held Friday at Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Bratton said. Ramos' family says he was deeply religious and heavily involved in the church. The funeral will be held there Saturday.
Vice President Joe Biden said he plans to attend Ramos' funeral.
Liu's family is traveling to the U.S. from China and will decide on arrangements after it arrives, Bratton said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder directed the Department of Justice to expedite death benefits to the officers' families. The Silver Shield Foundation, a charity founded by the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, set aside $40,000 for the education of Ramos' two sons. Bowdoin College said it will cover Ramos' older son's education costs as long as he remains a student there.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity created after 9/11/, says it will pay off the home mortgages of the two slain officers.
ABOUT THE GUNMAN
Emerging details on Brinsley are clarifying a portrait of him as a mentally disturbed loner.
His mother told the Daily News he'd had psychological problems all his life but his family never had any indication he would attack police. Shakuwra Dabre said her 28-year-old son had made suicide attempts starting when he was 13, had been institutionalized and had been on and off antidepressants for years. She says he rebuffed his family's pleas to get help and she last spoke to him in July. She told the newspaper she was "deeply sorry" for what he had done.