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Queens DA meets with victim's mother

Cecilia Reyes, the mother of Noel Polanco, 22,

Cecilia Reyes, the mother of Noel Polanco, 22, who was shot and killed by a police officer on the Grand Central Parkway, leaves the Queens County Courthouse after speaking with district attorney Richard Brown in Queens, New York. (Oct. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The mother of an unarmed motorist shot dead last week by an NYPD officer from Centereach met Thursday with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and several prosecutors, who assured her they will conduct a thorough investigation.

After the meeting, Cecilia Reyes said she met with Brown in her quest to get justice for her son, Noel Polanco, 22, who lived in Corona, Queens.

"I don't want this to be repeated," Reyes said outside the Queens County Courthouse in Kew Gardens. "I just lost my boy, and I'm in pain and I'm wounded. I just have to mourn my son's death."

Polanco, a member of the National Guard, was shot to death about 5:15 a.m. Oct. 4 by NYPD Det. Hassam Hamdy during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway, police said.

Hamdy was in one of two unmarked emergency service unit vans that stopped Polanco's Honda after, police said, it was moving in and out of lanes and cutting between the two NYPD vehicles. The officers were part of an NYPD apprehension team that had just served a search warrant in the Bronx. Thursday, Reyes said she didn't "want any cover-ups. I want justice."

At least a half-dozen prosecutors met with Reyes, her attorney, Sanford Rubenstein of Manhattan, and Michael Hardy, an attorney with the Harlem-based National Action Network.

The investigation into the shooting was going forward, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday, adding that a grand jury "will have to be involved in this investigation."

An off-duty female NYPD officer was asleep in the backseat of Polanco's car at the time of the shooting, officials said. A woman in the front passenger seat raised her hands as police instructed -- but the detective fired past her, striking Polanco in the abdomen.

Polanco did not comply with instructions from Hamdy, said the detective's attorney, Philip Karasyk. Hamdy opened fire after Polanco reached under his seat, the attorney said. Police union officials have said they welcome the grand jury involvement and it is common in such a high-profile case. Hamdy is eager to testify before the grand jury and tell his version of events, Karasyk said.

The front-seat passenger has disputed Karasyk's account, according to police.

Polanco worked at the Ice Lounge, a hookah bar in Astoria where patrons smoke tobacco through water pipes.

With Anthony M. DeStefano

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