- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

Several recent killings of black men or boys by police officers across U.S. and grand juries’ decisions not to indict some of the officers have spurred demonstrations nationwide. Here’s a look at some of the cases:

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PARK SHOOTING

On April 30, a white Milwaukee police officer conducted a welfare check on a black man sleeping in a downtown park. Authorities say Dontre Hamilton, 31, resisted when Officer Christopher Manney tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punches before Hamilton, who was mentally ill, grabbed Manney’s baton and hit him, Manney has said. Manney then opened fire, hitting Hamilton 14 times. Manney was fired after the Milwaukee police chief said he did not follow department policy concerning the mentally ill. On Monday, a prosecutor announced Manney acted in self-defense and would not be charged.

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CHOKEHOLD DEATH

On July 17, a white plainclothes police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, applied what a medical examiner determined was a chokehold to an unarmed black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on a New York City street. A videotape of the takedown of Eric Garner, who had asthma, showed him repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” while officers wrestled him to the ground. Garner died soon after, and a grand jury later decided not to indict Pantaleo.

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WAL-MART SHOOTING

On Aug. 5, a white policeman responding to a call about a man waving what appeared to be a rifle in an Ohio Wal-Mart store shot and killed John Crawford III, who was black. What Crawford was holding was an air rifle. A special grand jury decided in September the actions of Officer Sean Williams and another Beavercreek officer in the racially charged case were justified.

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‘HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!’

On Aug. 9, white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri. Supporters of Brown’s family say he had his hands up in surrender, but Wilson has said that’s “incorrect” and he couldn’t have done anything differently in their confrontation. A grand jury decision last month to not indict Wilson sparked violent demonstrations and looting in the St. Louis suburb, and around the nation protesters have chanted, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”

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STAIRWELL SHOOTING

On Nov. 20, a rookie New York Police Department officer walking with his gun drawn in a darkened stairwell of a public housing complex shot and killed a black man leaving the building with his girlfriend. Police Commissioner William Bratton said that Akai Gurley had been “a total innocent” when he was shot and that the shooting, by an Asian officer, was under investigation. The Brooklyn district attorney said the case would be presented to a grand jury.

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PELLET GUN SHOOTING

On Nov. 22, a white rookie police officer, Tim Loehmann, shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy, Tamir Rice, who had been pointing a pellet gun near a Cleveland playground. Police say Tamir was told to raise his hands but reached into his waistband for the realistic-looking airsoft gun, which was missing its orange safety indicator. The shooting was captured on surveillance video and Tamir’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city, Loehmann and his partner.

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UNARMED DRUG SUSPECT KILLED

On Dec. 2, a white police officer who authorities say mistook a pill bottle for a gun shot and killed an unarmed black drug suspect during a struggle at a Phoenix apartment building. About 150 people upset about the killing of Rumain Brisbon marched to police headquarters, and police and prosecutors met with local civil rights leaders.

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FIGHT OVER TAILLIGHT TICKET

On Dec. 4, in tiny Eutawville, South Carolina, a white former police chief was charged with murder in the 2011 shooting death of an unarmed black man, Bernard Bailey, who had gone to Town Hall to argue about a broken-taillight ticket. Bailey and then-chief Richard Combs fought, and Combs shot Bailey twice in the chest. Combs’ lawyer accused prosecutors of taking advantage of national outrage toward police to obtain the indictment.

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