Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said that the moments leading up to last week’s fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens remained unclear, and warrant grand jury scrutiny.
“It will require what I believe to be a grand jury investigation to determine precisely what happened there,” Commissioner Kelly told reporters Monday just before joining the Columbus Day parade.
The Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, has already said that his office is investigating the shooting of Noel Polanco during an early morning traffic stop Thursday. It is routine procedure for prosecutors to bring fatal shootings by the police before a grand jury.
Detective Hassan Hamdy and eight other officers with the Tactical Apprehension Team were heading to Brooklyn to execute a warrant in two police trucks when Mr. Polanco twice cut them off while speeding and driving erratically, the police have said.
After pulling over Mr. Polanco, 22, at about 5:15 a.m., Detective Hamdy approached the passenger side of Mr. Polanco’s Honda and fired a single shot through an open window, striking Mr. Polanco in the abdomen.
Detective Hamdy’s lawyer, Philip E. Karasyk, said over the weekend that the detective believed Mr. Polanco was reaching for a gun. But a witness, Diane Deferrari, who was seated in the passenger’s seat, rebutted that account, saying the detective fired without giving Mr. Polanco a chance to comply with his orders to put his hands up and that when last she looked at Mr. Polanco, his hands were still on the steering wheel.
No weapon was found in the car. A small power screw drill was found on the floor of the driver’s side, police said.
“A grand jury examination is to be expected,” Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the union that represents Detective Hamdy, said in a statement. “It’s a police shooting, of a high-profile nature, where someone was killed. Full disclosure of the facts and what led to the shooting will reveal that our detective’s actions were justified. Prospective grand jurors can anticipate our full cooperation in this matter.”
This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 9, 2012
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the unit that Detective Hassan Hamdy is assigned to. It is the Tactical Apprehension Team, not the Apprehension Tactical Team.