Grand jury votes not to indict cop in driver's death

Hassan Hamdy leaves his home in Centereach on

Hassan Hamdy leaves his home in Centereach on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

A Queens grand jury has voted not to indict an NYPD detective from Long Island who shot and killed Noel Polanco, the driver of a car on the Grand Central Parkway, officials said.

In a statement, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the secret panel had voted not to charge anyone in the Oct. 4, 2012, death of Polanco. Brown didn't elaborate on the grand jury proceedings in his statement.

"Mr. Polanco's death remains a tragedy and I again express my sympathy to his family for their loss," Brown said in a statement.

Investigators said Det. Hassan Hamdy of Centereach fired the one shot that killed Polanco during a traffic stop confrontation. Polanco, 22, who worked at a Queens nightclub, and two women were in the car he was driving when they were pulled over by police. Police said there was evidence that Polanco, a National Guard member, was driving aggressively and seemed to be reaching under his seat, possibly for a weapon. No gun was later found.

"He is obviously extremely relieved with today's decision," Hamdy's attorney Phil Karasyk said. "No police officer wants to be placed in the position to make life or death decisions."

Hamdy remained on full duty status and the incident will go before an NYPD firearms-discharge review board, Karasyk said.

NYPD officials had no comment on the grand jury decision.

"The family of Noel Polanco is extremely disappointed the Queens grand jury voted not to indict the police officer who shot and killed him," said Polanco family attorney Sanford Rubenstein. "The family will in the near future meet with their advisers to determine the best way to move forward in their quest for justice."

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