QUEENS — A grand jury investigating the NYPD detective who shot and killed an unarmed National Guardsman on Grand Central Parkway will convene for the first time in early January, the victim's family said Tuesday.
Noel Polanco, 22, was shot during an early-morning traffic stop Oct. 4 by Det. Hassan Hamdy, a nine-year NYPD veteran who was the subject of previous lawsuits alleging police brutality, but had also received commendations for heroism.
“We will now wait and leave it to the people of Queens to decide whether or not there was criminality in this case,” said Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney representing Polanco's family.
There were conflicting accounts of whether Polanco, who relatives said aspired to become a police officer, complied with Hamdy's order to put his hands up after being pulled over for driving erratically.
Hamdy fired a single shot through the passenger window that killed Polanco. No weapons were found in the vehicle, officials said.
The Queens District Attorney's office declined to comment Tuesday evening, but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly previously said a grand jury would investigate the shooting.
Rubenstein said Tuesday that the criminal prosecution is Polanco's family's primary concern, and that they are not currently seeking any civil damages.
“What this family wants is justice,” Rubenstein said at a news conference on Kew Gardens Road, across the street from Queens Borough Hall. “They’re focusing on this proceeding, not any civil proceedings at this time.”
Polanco’s mother, Cecilia Reyes, 46, said that while the family will be following the court proceedings closely, nothing will bring back her good-natured son.
“He was the type of person where if someone needed a ride or whatever it was, even if it was in the middle of the night, if you needed something from him, he was there,” an emotional Reyes said Tuesday. “And I’m going to miss that about him. Especially during the holidays.”