The mother of an Army National Guardsman shot dead during a traffic stop made an emotional plea for Justice at the National Action Network Saturday, days after a Queens grand jury declined to indict the officer who pulled the trigger. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Cecilia Reyes broke down in front of a packed room at the National Action Network Saturday as she spoke about her disappointment that a grand jury failed to indict the police officer who killed her son.
"My son had no weapon, and yet, the officer gets away with this," she said.
Noel Polanco, 22, was pulled over in October on the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst. Police said he was driving erratically and was told to raise his hands, but instead, they said, he reached under his seat.
Officer Hassan Hamdy fired a shot that hit the national guardsman in the stomach, killing him. On Thursday, a grand jury ruled it would not bring charges against Officer Hamdy.
"It's really, really, really upsetting to know that they cannot see it the same way that we would see it, that he's still killed someone," Reyes said. "He's still a murderer no matter what in my eyes."
Reyes said she's now weighing her options. Her attorneys are set to appeal to the U.S. Attorney's office, and they said that next week, they'll start moving toward a lawsuit against the NYPD and Officer Hamdy. They also want a special investigator to look at the case.
"The police investigate crimes. The district attorney prosecutes them. There's a dependency between the two," said Robert Mijuca, Reyes' attorney. "Based on that dependency, we feel that there's a conflict when it comes to the district attorney investigating police officers' crimes."
For its part, the Queens District Attorney's office said it did a thorough investigation and said it cannot comment on the grand jury's findings.
Officer Hamdy remains on desk duty as the NYPD does its internal investigation.
Rev. Al Sharpton has not yet met with the Polanco family. He'll do so when he returns from travel in Detroit. The family said they'd like him to help organize public demonstrations and rallies to protest the grand jury's decision and continue to press for a re-examination of the case.