NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Attorneys representing the family of an unarmed Army National Guardsman killed by a New York City police detective said Saturday that they will ask federal prosecutors to review the case.
The lawyers joined the family of Noel Polanco, 22, on Saturday at the Harlem headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton.
They criticized a decision Thursday by a Queens grand jury not to indict the detective.
Detective Hassan Hamdy shot Polanco on Oct. 4 following a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport.
Polanco was killed on Oct. 4 when he was shot by Det. Hassan Hamdy near LaGuardia Airport. Police said Polanco had been pulled over for driving erratically and for cutting off an unmarked Emergency Services Unit vehicle.
Hamdy’s lawyer has said that Polanco did not comply with the detective’s orders to put up his hands. The lawyer said Polanco reached for something under his seat.
He said his client “felt threatened and was left with no other alternative other than the actions that he took.”
But a passenger in Polanco’s car has disputed that account. No weapon was found.
Polanco’s mother, Cecilia Reyes, cried at the Saturday event and said she would keep fighting for justice CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported.
“I’m angry and I’m hurt, they didn’t do the justice they needed to do for my son,” Reyes told a group of reporters.
Reyes said that her son’s death was unjustified.
“He’s still a murderer, no matter what in my eyes. My son had no weapon, he didn’t deserve to die,” she said.
On Thursday a judge said, in a prepared statement, that he could not get into a grand jury’s decision because of laws surrounding grand jury secrecy.
The family is disappointed, and an attorney for the National Action Network called the situation problematic.
“The fact that an officer can go into a grand jury and simply say, ‘I thought he had a gun’ and there’s no indictment, we think that that’s a problem,” said Michael Harding.
Cecilia has been wearing a necklace with a picture of her husband and son, both deceased; the necklace was a gift from her daughter Amanda, 15, who she leans on for support.
“I never thought I could be this strong, but I guess I’m holding up because of my mom, and my brother would have wanted that,” Amanda told CBS 2.
Lawyer Michael Harding said the family’s attorneys are also pursuing civil actions against the city over the killing.
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