Saturday, October 6, 2012

Queens DA Looks Into Fatal NYPD Traffic Stop

The Queens District Attorney's office is now looking into the deadly police shooting of an unarmed U.S. Army reservist as the man's family demands answers. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly briefly met with the mother of New York National guardsman Noel Polanco Friday night. He expressed his condolences after the unarmed 22-year-old was shot and killed by an officer on Thursday.

Before the meeting, Polanco's mother, Cecilia Reyes, said she was devastated and outraged because her son dreamed of being a member of the NYPD but ended up being killed by one.

"All he wanted to do was go to the military, continue his career in the military and then, what he wanted to continue was to go on to be an officer," Reyes said. "And what, for this?"

Police say ESU officers in an unmarked van and a truck spotted Polanco's Honda weaving in and out of traffic. They say they forced him to pull over. When officers in uniform approached the car, one of them, Hassan Hamdy, fired a shot, hitting Polanco. No weapon was found in the car.

Members of Polanco's National Guard unit said he was a good soldier.

"I've hung out with this guy many a times and I've never seen him to be getting loud or disrespectful," said Angel Reyes of the New York National Guard.

"Do the right thing, let the truth come out because stories we are hearing, somebody did something wrong and I'm pretty sure it wasn't him," said Radoslaw Mosiej of the New York National Guard.

Polanco had two friends in his car. One was an off-duty officer who police say claims she was asleep when the shooting happened. But the front passenger said Polanco unknowingly cut off officers in unmarked vehicles. She said there was road rage on both sides and when police pulled them over, there was an order of 'show your hands' and a shot fired.

The detectives' union president called that version of the story unbelievable.

Michael Palladino said that "No police officer is going to shoot a person if both hands are visible on the steering wheel. We have been down this road before so I just ask people not to rush to judgment and allow the investigation to conclude."

Richard Brown, the Queens District Attorney, is now looking into the shooting, saying that "The public can be assured that the investigation will be full, fair and complete."

Polanco's friends, who set up a memorial outside of the club where he worked, said that's exactly what they're demanding.

By: Dean Meminger

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