The mother of a National Guardsman fatally shot by an NYPD officer during a Queens traffic stop and the City of New York reached a settlement for $2.5 million in February 2014 over the man’s death.
On October 4, 2013, Noel Polanco was driving home on the Grand Central Parkway after visiting a hookah bar in Astoria. A co-worker was sitting in the front passenger seat and a friend, an off-duty police officer, was sleeping in the backseat when Polanco was pulled over by Hassan Hamdy, an emergency unit detective with the NYPD. Hamdy said he pulled Polanco over for driving recklessly.
During a grand jury investigation into Polanco’s death, Hamdy said that he told Polanco to keep his hands on the steering wheel after stopping the vehicle. However, Hamdy said that Polanco began to reach under his seat for what Hamdy believed to be a weapon. Hamdy then drew his gun and fired one shot at Polanco through the open passenger side window. The shot fatally wounded Polanco. According to Hamdy’s attorney, the detective fired the shot because he feared for his life. Furthermore, the attorney said that his client acted within the limits of the law and the NYPD’s guidelines for using deadly force. Hamdy was cleared of any wrongdoing by the grand jury.
In 2013, federal prosecutors launched their own investigation into Polanco’s death. The U.S. attorney general’s office concluded that Hamdy did not intentionally violate Polanco’s civil rights.
In a statement about the settlement, Sanford Rubenstein, attorney for the Polanco family, said, “This is a fair settlement for damages for the wrongful death of a fine young soldier who should not have died the way he did.”
Website Resource: New York City settles Noel Polanco wrongful death lawsuit