Business as usual at the NYPD. It had been almost five weeks since any unarmed citizens had been shot, but New York’s finest remedied that when an officer the New York Post described as being “from an elite unit” shot an off-duty National Guardsman to death in his car. “Noel Polanco, 22, had his hands on the steering wheel of his 2012 Honda Fit moments before Detective Hassan Hamdy shot him once in the torso, a woman sitting in the front passenger seat told police, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.” The shooting of another unarmed New Yorker was particularly awkward – not least for Polanco – given the timing as Bloomberg’s Army had just announced earlier in the week that they’d decided to restore the service gun to one of the officers who had gunned down an unarmed Amadou Diallo thirteen years ago . . .
About the decision to re-arm the Diallo shooter, the Times reports that,
The Police Department offered no official explanation on Tuesday about restoring a gun to the officer, Kenneth Boss. But a law enforcement official familiar with (Commissioner) Kelly’s reasoning pointed to the recent exoneration of another officer, Michael Carey, who fired 3 of 50 bullets shot at Sean Bell, who was killed on the morning of his wedding outside a Queens nightclub in 2006.
The two passengers in Polanco’s car (one an off-duty cop) should probably consider themselves lucky. Considering the Big Apple’s boys in blue fired 41 rounds at Diallo and a unleashed a full half century at Sean Bell, the fact that Officer Hamdy only squeezed off two rounds showed admirable restraint. But maybe that “elite unit” gets more range time than your average beat cop.
It is “unknown” if Polanco moved after Hamdy, 39, yelled, “Show me your hands!” to the three people in the car — one of them a sleeping off-duty cop in the back seat— on the Grand Central Parkway near La Guardia Airport at 5:15 a.m. today, Browne said.
The woman in the front seat, a bartender named Diane DeFerrari, “said she complied with the cop’s direction to raise her hands,” Browne said.
“The last thing she saw was [Polanco’s] hands on the steering wheel,” Browne added.
Or maybe there wasn’t much restraint involved after all.
DeFerrari, in a blistering statement tonight outside the Astoria nightclub where she worked with Polanco, accused the cops of killing him in “an act of road rage . . . because my friend cut off the police” without knowing they were NYPD officers.
“The police proceeded to try to chase us, sticking their middle finger at us and screaming obscenities at the car trying to pull us over and veered us into the divider of the left lane of the Grand Central Parkway,” DeFerrari said.
Given their track record, Officer Hamdy can probably expect to get his gun back in about a decade after serving time on a cushy desk duty beat.