Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Wake Held For National Guardsman Shot By Police

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TWC News: Wake Held For National Guardsman Shot By Police
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There were tears and protests at the viewing for a national guardsman who was shot and killed by police last week as family and friends said they'll stop at nothing to learn the circumstances surrounding Noel Polanco's death. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.

Cecilia Reyes stood over the casket of the 22-year-old son she's lost and the big brother her daughter, Amanda, will never get back.

"They took the guy I had left in my life, the man of the house and there's no words to explain it," Amanda Reyes said.

Noel Polanco was shot and killed last week on the Grand Central Parkway by NYPD Officer Hassan Hamdy. Polanco, a national guardsman, was unarmed at the time.

"The loved ones, they're deeply hurt so right now," said National Guardsman Terrence Tyson. "So right now, we as a unit, we pray for them."

Fellow soldiers, loved ones and even people who didn't know Polanco packed Kearns Funeral Home in Queens Wednesday. But the fallout from the controversial shooting was also front and center.

"I see myself as his brother," said Jovani Padin, Polanco's friend. "We're going to keep fighting. We're going to fight all the way. Petitions, rallies, whatever we got to do. We got to fight 'til we get justice."

The family's attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, also spoke out about the case.

"We have a witness who says a young man was shot and killed when his hands were on the steering wheel by a police officer, a detective who was shooting from the passenger side of the car," Rubenstein said.

Later in the evening, protesters carried signs against police brutality.

"Why was this child killed?" said protester Marianella Sarotis. "I knew this boy since he was born."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is calling for a grand jury to investigate what happened in the last moments of Polanco's life. Family members say they'll stop at nothing to seek the truth.

"We're going to get justice for it. We're going to fight to the end and we gotta stick as a family," Amanda Reyes said.

Fellow national guardsmen said Polanco was the first to volunteer for a job. His family and friends say he was just a fun guy to be around.

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