Mother of Guardsman Shot by NYPD Still Paying for Car He Was Killed In
QUEENS — Cecilia Reyes has fought hard to get over the death of her National Guardsman son Noel Polanco, who was fatally shot inside his car by an NYPD detective during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway last October.
But a bitter and maddening reminder still comes in the mail once a month.
It’s a bill for $376.32 from the dealership where Polanco leased his 2012 Honda Fit and worked as a porter. The Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD confiscated the vehicle as evidence immediately after the shooting, but have yet to return it.
Since Reyes was its co-signer, she’s forced to continue making the payments — which have totaled more than $4,000 since her son's death in October last year.
“It’s like I’m being suffocated,” Reyes told DNAinfo New York. “I don’t want to know from that car — I just want to forget it. I don’t drive and, even if I did, I wouldn’t want that vehicle. ”
Polanco, 22, was shot dead by Detective Hassan Hamdy on Oct. 4, 2012 after the cop mistakenly thought Polanco was reaching for a gun when he pulled over his swerving Honda.
A Queens grand jury chose not to indict Hamdy in February, partly because the detective only fired a single shot, a source said.
Reyes, who along with lawyer Sanford Rubenstein has filed a wrongful death suit, said she has attempted to get the car back so she can return it to the dealership and end the yearlong saga, but has been unsuccessful in her efforts.
“They say it's under investigation, under investigation," Reyes said. "But what more are they trying to investigate?”
The Queens District Attorney’s Office told DNAinfo that it passed the vehicle on to the NYPD within the last year.
The NYPD didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Reyes insists that even though Honda knows the circumstances surrounding the vehicle, the company continues sending her bills.
“It’s like they don’t have any feelings,” she said. “They keep saying, ‘I’m sorry for the loss, but you’re responsible. You’re the co-signer.’”
Brian Benstock, the vice president and general manager of Paragon Honda, the dealership that leased the vehicle to Polanco, did not return several messages.
Meanwhile Reyes, a clerical worker at Elmhurst Hospital, said her credit score has taken a hit because she’s been late on many of the hefty payments.
“I just want everything paid back and the car back to Honda,” she said.
“Every time I think about it, it hurts. I don’t have the car, and I can’t give them the car. I would’ve given it back a long time ago."