Tag Archives: ice lounge

Ray Kelly calls for grand jury investigation into Polanco death

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is requesting a grand jury investigation following last week’s fatal shooting of 22-year-old Army Reserve member Noel Polanco by a police officer.

According to the NYPD, on Thursday, October 4 around 5:15 a.m., officers in two unmarked vehicles spotted an eastbound, black 2012 Honda Fit hybrid driving erratically, weaving between lanes and speeding on the Grand Central Parkway. The car allegedly tailgated another vehicle before cutting between the unmarked police cars. The officers signaled for the Honda to pull over near the exit for LaGuardia Airport. Police approached the vehicle and fired a single round into Polanco’s abdomen. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens where he was pronounced dead at 5:50 a.m.

During the incident, two other passengers were inside the car: Diane DeFerrari, a bartender and Polanco’s neighbor, and Vanessa Rodriguez, an off-duty police officer. DeFerrari was sitting in the passenger’s seat during the incident and Rodriguez was allegedly asleep in the back seat.

According to DeFerrari’s attorney Sanford Rubenstein, Polanco complied with the officer’s request to keep his hands visible.

“There’s no question that she [DeFerrari] saw the driver with his hands on the wheel when he was shot,” said Rubenstein.

The police officer who allegedly fired the shot is Hassan Hamdy, who according to published reports was involved in a 2007 lawsuit for use of excessive force.

The district attorney released a statement, assuring the public that the event will be investigated in a “full, fair and complete” manner by the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. The DA’s office declined any further comment.

Moez Abouelnaga, owner of Ice Lounge NYC in Astoria where Polanco worked as a hookah preparer, remembered his co-worker as a good-hearted, friendly person.

“He was a good kid,” said Abouelnaga. “Anything you asked him to do he would do it. He never asked for extra anything. He was very friendly. He got along with everyone.”

Polanco, who was known by the nickname “Sparxx,” graduated from Hillcrest High School in 2007 and was a member of the Army Reserve unit stationed in Kingston, New York. Reports say he had aspirations of joining the NYPD.

“He was a humble kid, just a humble guy,” said a friend. “He never started any problems. He never had issues. He was happy and social for someone who had just lost his grandfather and father.”

Polanco’s grandfather passed away in February and he lost his father in July, according to the friend.

On Tuesday, October 9, Senator Jose Peralta wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner on behalf of Polanco’s mother Cecilia Reyes. Peralta applauded Kelly’s push for a grand jury trial and added that full public disclosure of the facts is critical to ensure that justice is served.

Multiple attempts to reach Hamdy’s lawyer, Philip Karasyk, went unanswered as of press time.

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 59. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20%. Monday night: Overcast with rain. Low of 54. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the NNE after midnight. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY:  Queens Restaurant Week 

The ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week starts today with many eateries offering prix-fixe menus at $25 for a three-course meal or other specials. More than 100 restaurants are participating in the event, which takes place October 8-11 and October 15-18. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Poll finds tight Queens state Senate race

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and City Councilman Eric Ulrich are locked in a tight race for Addabbo’s Queens seat in a key battle for control of the Senate, a new poll finds. Read more: New York Post

New York City Housing Authority finally placing cameras at the Pomonok Houses in Queens, but mostly in areas where there is no crime

It seems like a no-brainer — put the cameras where the crime is. But that’s not what happened at the Pomonok Houses in Queens, a Daily News examination found. Read more: New York Daily News

Friends to have fundraiser for Army Guardsman in police shooting

The friends of the Army National Guardsman who was shot and killed by a detective during a traffic stop in Queens, will raise money to help his family pay for his funeral Sunday. Read more: Fox New York

Students turned away from SATs because of ID confusion

Taking the SAT is a rite of passage for many high schoolers but some Queens students were mistakenly turned away because of confusion over their IDs. Read more: NY1

MetroCards go on sale with ads on both sides

It sputtered out of the subway vending machine, an oddity that deserved careful examination. Some riders asked a station agent how to swipe it. One woman was confused about whether it was even a MetroCard at all. Read more: New York Times

Yankees win ALDS playoff opener over Orioles 7-2

CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Obama ribs his own debating; Romney eyes speech

On a last dash for cash in the celebrity scene of California, President Barack Obama on Sunday took a good-natured shot as his own underwhelming debate performance, marveling at how his friends in the entertainment business could turn in flawless showings every time. Read more: AP



Queens DA investigating police shooting of unarmed man on GCP

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

The shooting of an unarmed Army Reservist on the Grand Central Parkway early Thursday morning is being investigated by the Queens District Attorney after a witness said the victim never took his hands of the steering wheel.

Noel Polanco was pulled over by cops at 5:15 a.m. after speeding and swerving on the eastbound Grand Central Parkway and cutting off police vehicles. After being stopped, a pair of uniformed officers stepped out of their cars and flanked the 2012 Honda Fit.

Diane DeFerrari, who was sitting in the passenger seat, told the NY Post they were ordered to put their hands up, but before Polanco had a chance he was shot by Detective Hassan Hamdy.

“There was no time to put your hands up at all,” DeFerrar told the paper, adding Polanco had his hands on the steering wheel when he was shot. “They shot in front of my face. Had I moved an inch, it would probably have been me.”

After being taken to New York Hospital Queens by EMS, Polanco was pronounced dead at 5:58 a.m.

A third passenger, Vanessa Rodriguez, an NYPD officer on modified duty after a shoplifting charge, was also in the car’s backseat.

The three were on their way home from Ice Lounge in Astoria.

No weapon was found in the car, only a power drill under the driver’s side seat.

Those close to him said the Army Reservist never found himself in trouble.

“I never had to worry about him,” Polanco’s mother, Cecilia Reyes, told the Daily News. “He had never been in a precinct in his life. He was in the military and would never do anything to endanger his career. Daily news

The case is being investigated by Internal Affairs and the Queens DA.