Family of man killed in LIC wants answers from NYPD

Police tape hangs at the corner of 40th Avenue and 11th Street where a 24-year-old man was hit and killed by a police vehicle. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The parents of a young Japanese man struck and killed by a police cruiser en route to an emergency in Queensbridge are demanding city officials review the circumstances surrounding his death.

Ryo Oyamada, 24, had been crossing the street on 40th Avenue near the corner of 11th Street when he was hit just after midnight Feb. 21, according to the NYPD.

“They implored Police Commissioner [Ray] Kelly and also Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg to conduct a thorough and fair investigation into this incident,” said Bayside-based attorney Jeffrey Kim, who is representing the Oyamada family and filed a notice of claim on their behalf.

Kim said Ryo Oyamada had come to the United States about three months earlier to study English at a Zoni Language Center. He had been living less than a block from where he died, Queensbridge residents said.

After his family was notified, they traveled to New York from their native Kobe, Japan, and visited the local police station, Kim said.

“Apparently what they heard they were not satisfied with,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD said Wednesday that the investigation into the accident was ongoing.

Kim said specifically the family had wanted to know if the police vehicle, which is part of Police Service Area 9, was speeding and had its lights and sirens on at the time.

“They wanted for the city to release or to show any type of surveillance video that they have as well as any type of speed monitoring or data monitoring that the police may have,” Kim said.

Chuck Johnson, who said he had been in the store at the corner of 40th Avenue and 11th Street at the time of the crash, said cars often move quickly along 40th Avenue because there is no type of traffic signal at the corner.

Ryo’s parents also criticized elected officials for not publicly offering their condolences.

After Tsukasa and Chie Oyamada, Ryo’s parents, held a news conference Friday, Borough President Helen Marshall sent a letter to the family, Kim said.

“From their point of view, it’s being swept under the rug,” Kim said.

Kim described Ryo Oyamada as an amateur musician and a budding photographer.

“When we recovered the camera he had with him, he took photos of iconic New York,” Kim said. “The type of pictures that he took, to me, were very artistic.”

Reach photo editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4589.

Posted 8:53 pm, March 7, 2013
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