Detective Who Killed National Guardsman Testifies Before Grand Jury

By Paul DeBenedetto on January 31, 2013 7:35pm 

QUEENS — The detective who shot an unarmed National Guardsman after a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway in October testified before a grand jury on Thursday, his lawyer said.

Det. Hassan Hamdy told the grand jury that he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Noel Polanco, 22, who police said was driving recklessly and refused to pull over.

"He felt that he was about to be met by deadly physical force," said Hamdy's attorney, Philip Karasyk.

According to police, Polanco's Honda allegedly darted between cars about 5:15 a.m. on Oct. 4 of last year, including two NYPD Emergency Service Unit Apprehension Team vehicles.

Cops turned on their lights and sirens and tried to pull Polanco over, positioning themselves in front of and behind the Honda until it finally came to a stop at Exit 7 near LaGuardia Airport, police said.

Hamdy, one of the ESU officers, approached on the passenger side of Polanco's car, and said he saw Polanco reach down and grab an object that appeared to be a power tool, sources said.

Hamdy fired a single shot through the passenger window into Polanco's abdomen, killing him.

"The actions of Mr. Polanco — speeding and driving erratically, refusing to be pulled over by the police, even though he had two police vehicles flashing their lights," Karasyk said, "and then finally, Mr. Polanco refusing to show his hands, and then lunging for the bottom of the car with his arms, and both of those hands."

"So it's a series," Karasyk added. "It's an escalating series of threats. That's it. Now it's up to the grand jury."

After Thursday's three-hour testimony, Hamdy was escorted away while Karasyk and Detectives Endowment Association President Michael Palladino answered questions.

"In order for the grand jury to make an informed decision they needed to hear a full accounting of the facts from our detectives," Palladino said. "The fact that he testified and waived his immunity shows the character of the witness."

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