Long Island, New York
February 21, 2013
Agencies: New York Police Department NYPD
Cause of death: Vehicular
Last updated: over 5 years ago
“Our family feels that there is no way to hold the NYPD accountable through the court system,” the family of Ryo Oyamada said in a statement released Tuesday.
“After over four years, we have decided with heavy hearts to accept a settlement of our lawsuit against the city for his death.”
The 24-year-old student was struck and killed by a police car while crossing 40th Ave. between 10th and 11th streets in Long Island City on Feb. 21, 2013.
“For over four years, our family has struggled through language barriers and distance to try to learn the truth of what happened to Ryo and to hold the NYPD accountable for killing him,” the family said.
“We live in Germany and Japan, and have made countless trips to New York City to identify Ryo's mangled body, attend court conferences and a DMV hearing to find out the truth of what happened to Ryo and demand justice.”
Oyamada’s lawyer in 2014 suggested that video bolstered the family’s claim that the police department covered up the circumstances of the crash.
Cops said the driver, identified in the lawsuit as Officer Darren Ilardi, was responding to an emergency and had the cruiser’s top lights activated.
But video showed a police car pass by moments before Oyamada was struck without flashing lights.
Ilardi admitted in a 2015 DMV hearing that he “cut the lights off” to avoid revealing his position to a potential suspect, Gothamist.com reported.
Oyamada family lawyer Steve Vaccaro accused the officers who came to the scene of dispersing witnesses, failing to measure skid marks or preserve video recordings, and failing to check whether Ilardi was using his cellphone.
A May 25 accident reconstruction report prepared for the family suggests the police cruiser was going nearly 65 mph as it approached Oyamada, and likely was going 31 mph when it hit him.
“This is not justice, and Officer Darren Ilardi should be held accountable for killing Ryo, as he sped recklessly next to public housing where children, families and pedestrians are always walking,” the family said.
A spokeswoman for Oyamada’s family wouldn’t disclose the amount of the settlement, and city Law Department officials could not immediately provide that amount Tuesday night.
The NYPD referred questions about the case to the Law Department.