Police say they are investigating after the driver of a car was fatally shot by an Emergency Service Unit detective Thursday morning during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Diane DeFerrari, who was in the car with her friend Noel Polanco during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway, said she believes a NYPD emergency service unit officer intentionally killed Polanco during the stop.
"All you had to do was pull him over and ask him for his freaking license and registration and take him to jail," she said. "There was no reason for the innocent kid to be killed."
Police say ESU officers in an unmarked van and a truck spotted Polanco's Honda weaving in and out of traffic. They forced the 22-year-old, a national guardsman, to pull over.
Officers in uniform approached the car. One of them, 13-year veteran Hassan Hamdy, fired a shot through the passenger window, hitting Polanco in the abdomen.
DeFerrari said cops ordered them to put their hands up but the shot was fired at the same time.
"No, he did not have a chance to put his hands up," she said. "The shot came right past my face and shot him."
DeFerrari said the cops went wild after Polanco cut off one of their vehicles.
"There was no reason for the cop to be that irate at all, to be sticking your middle finger up at us, to be screaming obscenities at us prior to you even trying to pull us over," she said.
No gun was found in the car. Police said there was a power drill sticking from underneath the front seat. DeFerrari said she knew nothing about a drill but said the officers were heavily armed.
"They were in full dress with rifles," she said.
Polanco and DeFerrari worked at the Ice Lounge in Astoria. He had come to pick her up and also gave a female off-duty NYPD officer a ride home.
DeFerrari is a bartender at the Ice Lounge and said Polanco did have some Hennessy. Police said they thought all three had been drinking but DeFerrari insists Polanco was not drunk.
Moez Abouelnaga, the co-owner of the club, said Polanco was always ready to help out.
"If one of the workers was here and he needed a ride home, he was the person to be like 'I got it, no problem, I'll take them home," Abouelnaga said. "Unfortunately, he did the same thing that night."
Police said the off-duty officer who was in the back seat told them she was sleeping when the shot was fired.
The investigation continues.