Key developments in police-communities tension

File-This Dec. 27, 2014, file photo shows police officers turning their backs as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the funeral of New York city police officer Rafael Ramos in the Glendale section of Queens, in New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio is winding down his first year in office, which saw success at fulfilling many of his liberal campaign promises. But the year ends with his young mayoralty facing its biggest crisis yet: an open rebellion from police officers who don’t believe the mayor supports them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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 declined to indict the officers.

Tensions escalated further after two New York City police officers were killed last weekend by a man who suggested in online posts that their slayings 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:

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MAYOR, POLICE UNIONS MEETING

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was aiming to clear the air with police unions after rancor brewed over the police officers’ shooting deaths and City Hall’s response to protests over police conduct.

De Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton and union heads planned a private meeting Tuesday, administration officials said.

A rift between de Blasio and much of the New York Police Department’s rank and file has widened recently. Union leaders have said the mayor fostered an anti-NYPD atmosphere and see de Blasio as too sympathetic to police critics who protested over the Garner and Brown cases.

Some people turned their backs on de Blasio at a police graduation Monday and one officer’s funeral Sunday.

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MORE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS KILLED BY FIREARMS IN 2014

The number of law enforcement officers killed by firearms jumped by 56 percent this year and included 15 ambush deaths. But gun-related police deaths still remain far below historic highs and lower than the average annual figures in the past decade, according to a report released Tuesday.

The annual report by the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that 50 officers were killed by guns this year. That’s far higher than the 32 such deaths last year but the same as 2012 figures.

In all, the report found that 126 federal, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014. The all-time high is 156 in 1973.

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CHIPOTLE APOLOGIZES

Two Chipotle chief executives apologized to New York City police officers who were greeted by a restaurant employee making the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture popular with protesters.

Co-Chief Executive Officers Steve Ells and Monty Moran said in a statement Monday that the employee’s action appeared to be spontaneous. They said it happened at one of their Brooklyn restaurants on Dec. 16 when a group of nine police officers entered. They said the officers were not refused service, but chose to leave after encountering the gesture while in line.

The executives said appropriate actions had been taken toward the crew member but wouldn’t discuss what those actions were.

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MISSOURI CHIEF: MAN SHOT BY OFFICER HAD GUN

Police in the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley said their investigation confirms an 18-year-old pointed a gun and tried to fire at the officer who shot him to death in a convenience store parking lot last week.

Police Chief Frank McCall said Tuesday that several witnesses told police Antonio Martin pointed a gun at the officer. The officer was responding to a report of shoplifting at the store.

Renewed protests followed the shooting, which was the third of a black suspect by a white officer in the region since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in neighboring Ferguson on Aug. 9.

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SKEPTICISM IN CLEVELAND

A top official with the Cleveland branch of the NAACP says he has no confidence the city will make changes within its police department without federal oversight.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a blistering report earlier this month that said a 20-month investigation found a pattern and practice of Cleveland police officers using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights.

The city and the department have begun negotiating the terms of a consent decree. A federal judge must approve it, and an independent monitor will oversee it.

Michael Nelson, an attorney and NAACP leader, says he’s not sure Cleveland will voluntarily make changes and thinks the final agreement between the city and Justice Department should remain in place for years.

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LOS ANGELES SHOOTING

Two men opened fire on a police car patrolling a tough part of Los Angeles, but the two officers inside were not injured and one was able to shoot back, authorities said Monday. One suspect was later arrested and the other was on the loose.

Police have not yet determined a motive for Sunday night’s shooting in South Los Angeles — an area plagued by gang violence — but said there were no indications it was linked to other attacks on police.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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