DA meets with mother of man killed on GCP

Cecilia Reyes (r.) the mother of Noel Polanco, joins her lawyers, Sanford Rubenstein (l.) and Michael Hardy, after meeting with the Queens district attorney. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Cecilia Reyes, the Corona mother of an unarmed National Guardsman who was shot by an Emergency Services Unit detective during a traffic stop last week, said after a meeting with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown Thursday that she believed she would get “justice” for her son’s death.

Reyes, whose 22-year-old son Noel Polanco died Oct. 4, was accompanied by her attorneys, civil rights lawyers Sanford Rubenstein and Michael Hardy, at a news conference in front of Queens Criminal Court.

“I just want justice done,” Reyes said.

Officers in two Emergency Service Unit Apprehension Team vehicles had seen Polanco Oct. 4 at around 5:15 a.m. on the Grand Central Parkway near Exit 7 in East Elmhurst driving erratically in a black 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid, cutting through the vehicles and tailgating another car, police said. Officers pulled Polanco over and one of them, Detective Hassan Hamdy, ended up shooting Polanco in the stomach, according to the NYPD. He died at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing shortly thereafter, police said.

No weapon was found in the car, the DA said.

Manhattan attorney Philip Karasyk of Karasyk & Moschella, LLP, is representing Hamdy.

Karasyk said Polanco had refused the officers’ orders multiple times and that Hamdy had observed what he believed was Polanco reaching down for a weapon.

“Police officers operate on an offending scale of threat,” Karasyk said.

Bartender Diane DeFerrari, one of two passengers in Polanco’s car that night, told reporters Polanco had kept his hands on the wheel, which Karasyk disputed.

Brown said in a statement that he told Reyes and her attorneys during their meeting that his office was looking into the incident based on the facts and the law.

“I assured them that our investigation is active and ongoing, and that it will be completed as expeditiously as possible,” Brown said. “I pointed out, however, that the investigation is still in its early stages.”

Hardy said Reyes, the Polanco family and DeFerrari would cooperate with the investigation and that he expected a grand jury to rule in Reyes’ favor.

“No person in this borough should be subjected to a wrongful death,” Hardy said.

Karasyk said he and his client were “ready and willing” to cooperate with the DA.

Brown said he could not talk about any further details of the case.

“I know that many people would want me to discuss – and expand upon – that which has been reported in the media,” he said. “That is, however, something I am not prepared to do.”

During the news conference Thursday, Reyes described Polanco as a “great child” who she never had any problems with.

“I guess no mother’s ever ready to say goodbye to her child,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 5:29 pm, October 11, 2012
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