Slain Guardsman Posthumously Promoted To Sergeant; Investigation Into Shooting Continues
The National Guardsman fatally shot by an NYPD detective earlier this month was laid to rest on Friday. He also got a promotion.
Guardsman Noel Polanco held the rank of specialist in life. Friday, he was posthumously promoted to sergeant.
"This is a promotion for outstanding accomplishments and service," First Sgt. Gregory Sinclair reportedly told hundreds of mourners at the Eternal Love Baptist Church in Corona, Queens, on Friday.
Reverend Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at Polanco's funeral, noting in his address that the 22-year-old soldier hoped to someday be an NYPD officer.
"There is nothing this young man did to be here today," Sharpton said. "He was as right as you can get. He was a right as real folk can get."
"When you saw him you saw a gang member," Sharpton said of Hamdy. "Well, his gang was the US army."
Polanco, who by all accounts was a stand-up guy with a clean criminal history -- and no gang affiliation -- was fatally shot by NYPD Detective Hassan Hamdy during a traffic stop on October 4. At the time of the shooting, Polanco was unarmed.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said last week that he wanted a grand jury investigation into the seemingly senseless shooting, and the Department's internal affairs unit was investigating. Additionally, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown's office also is looking into the shooting.
On Friday, Brown met with Polanco's mother before issuing a statement about the investigation.
I met this morning in my office with Mrs. Cecilia Reyes, mother of Noel Polanco who tragically lost his life a week ago today on the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst. She was accompanied by her attorneys, Stanford Rubenstein and Michael Hardy.I discussed with them the progress of our investigation - and reiterated that which I've heretofore said - that our decisions in this case will be based solely on the facts and the law and that we will follow the evidence wherever it leads us. I assured them that our investigation is active and ongoing and that it will be completed as expeditiously as possible. I pointed out, however, that the investigation is still in its early stages.I told them that when we conclude our investigation I expect that we will present all of the facts to the grand jury.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.