- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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:

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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 had called Monday 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.

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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.

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ABOUT THE VICTIMS

Ramos, who celebrated his 40th birthday this month, joined the New York Police Department in 2012 after working as a school security officer. He was a lifelong Brooklyn resident.

He was married with two sons: a 13-year-old who attends middle school in Brooklyn and another is a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Maine.

The 32-year-old Liu, whose family moved from China when he was a teenager, had been a member of the police force for seven years, after serving in the police auxiliary. He moved this year to a home in Brooklyn’s Gravesend section and got married two months ago.

His wife, Pei Xia Chen, gave a tearful statement to reporters Monday evening.

“This is a difficult time for both of our families,” she said, expressing her condolences to Ramos’ widow and children. “But we will stand together and get through this together.”

Brinsley’s hospitalized ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, was upgraded from critical to serious condition.

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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.

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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.

Bratton said in a CBS interview police were trying to determine how Brinsley had money despite not appearing to have a job or a home.

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