NYPD Internal Affairs and the Queens DA's office are investigating the fatal shooting of an unarmed Army Reservist, amid a witness's claim that the victim had his hands on the steering wheel. However, according to the Daily News, the same witness "contradicts her later assertions that Noel Polanco had both hands on the wheel when he was shot on the Grand Central Parkway" in a police report.
On October 4, Polanco had cut off an ESU vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway, and when he was pulled over (police say he was driving erratically), Detective Hassan Hamdy shot him. The passenger in the car, Diane DeFerrari, said Polanco's hands were on the steering wheel and that Hamdy acted out of "road rage," telling reporters, "Noel didn’t have a chance to put his hands up. They screamed, ‘Put your hands up!’ and shot at the same time."
However, the police report "told a slightly different tale more beneficial to Hamdy... 'She saw Mr. Polanco with his hands on the steering wheel and when she looked forward she saw a white male, short, stocky, wearing a vest, fire a round from a handgun,' the report says. 'She did not see Mr. Polanco reaching or making any furtive movements when she was looking at him,' the report continued. 'However, she did look away prior to him being shot.'" Hamdy reportedly thought Polanco was reaching for something; police only found a power drill in the car.
Still, the entire episode—from when Polanco's driving was noticed by the police to the shooting—apparently only lasted 60 seconds. The News also offered these details from the report:
The officers in the unmarked police van noticed the wildy veering car too, and Polanco’s vehicle then cut in between the van and another police vehicle.
Van driver Sgt. Thomas Glaudino flipped on the emergency lights and siren, pulled alongside Polanco and raised his middle finger, DeFerrari said.
“Motherf-----, you cut me off!” he shouted as Polanco accelerated. Glaudino claimed he was motioning with his index finger for the suspect to pull over.
DeFerrari told cops that she asked Polanco to follow the directions, but he resisted, telling her, “I’m only going 50 miles.” He then hit the gas, speeding up to about 60 to 70 mph, she said.
“I’m nervous,” she told him. “Dude, stop the car. Stop the car. I’m scared.”
After the blue van forced Polanco to stop on the left side of the highway, the cops came pouring out, she said. The gunshot fired by Hamdy happened in a heartbeat, DeFerrari said.
Polanco was buried last week; he was also posthumously promoted to sergeant.