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Queens Chronicle

Noel Polanco's killing by NYPD detective was no crime: grand jury

Unarmed national guardsman shot on Grand Central Parkway

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 4:01 pm | Updated: 4:40 pm, Thu Feb 21, 2013.

The police detective who fatally shot an unarmed national guardsman after pulling him over on the Grand Central Parkway last October will not be charged with a crime.

A grand jury has declined to indict Detective Hassan Hamdy, who had said he thought the victim, 22-year-old Noel Polanco, was reaching for a weapon under the driver's seat as he approached the car. Polanco's passenger denied that claim, and there was no weapon in the vehicle.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced the grand jury's decision today, Feb. 14.

The killing occurred at about 5:15 a.m. Oct 4 near LaGuardia Airport. The NYPD said Polanco was driving erratically and dangerously cut between two unmarked police vehicles before they pulled him over.

The victim, who lived in Corona, was working four different jobs and hoped to become a police officer himself. He was posthumously promoted to sergeant during his funeral service, held  Oct. 12 at Eternal Love Baptist Church in Corona. He was buried with full military honors at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens.

The grand jury met nine times over a five-week period and determined that no criminal charges should be filed in the case, Brown said.

"While I understand that some would want me to provide the factual and legal basis for the grand jury’s decision, I am precluded from doing so by the statutory provisions regarding grand jury secrecy," he said in a prepared statement. "Suffice it to say, however,  that this office conducted a thorough, complete and independent investigation into all of the facts and circumstances surrounding Mr. Polanco’s death. We interviewed all witnesses to that which occurred and examined all available documentary evidence. We thereafter presented all the evidence to the grand jury and instructed it as to the applicable procedural and substantive law.

"Mr. Polanco’s death remains a tragedy and I again express my sympathy to his family for their loss."

Hamdy has been with the NYPD for 14 years and also served in the Marine Corps.

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