There should be zero tolerance for bad police practices, which is why New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly should fire Detective Hassan Hamdy.
Last October, Hamdy fatally shot Polanco, 22, during an early morning traffic stop in Queens. The NYPD says Polanco was driving erratically on the Grand Central Parkway. After detectives pulled him over, Hamdy shot him. Polanco, 22, who aspired to become a police officer, was unarmed.
Hamdy says he thought Polanco was reaching under his seat for a weapon, which the passenger in the car denies.
In February, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that a grand jury decided not to file any criminal charges against Hamdy. The decision, and the job of Brown, is questionable any way you look at it. There is no way to justify Polanco’s death.
The Polanco family has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate. In the meantime, Kelly can do the right thing and send a strong message: Police officers who recklessly fire their weapons are not guardians of public safety and should not be on the job.
Polanco’s death is a tragedy for the Latino community. The way this detective acted and the lack of immediate accoutability only diminishes the confidence people have in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Kelly can bring a measure of justice to this disastrous situation by ousting an officer who is by no means “New York’s finest” and letting the public know that bad “policing” will be swiftly dealt with.