The family of a Japanese student who police say was run down by an NYPD cruiser in Long Island City six months ago is pleading for witnesses who are willing to testify about what they saw to come forward, their lawyer said.
Ryo Oyamada, 24, was crossing 40th Avenue near the corner of 11th Street, across from the Queensbridge Houses, when he was hit by the police vehicle responding to an emergency just after midnight Feb. 21, authorities said.
In May, Oyamada’s family filed an $8 million suit in Brooklyn federal court against the city, the Police Department and the officer behind the wheel, who is a member of Police Service Area 9, which covers most of the public housing projects in Queens, according to the NYPD.
Oyamada’s family says they have received little information from authorities about what happened to the Zoni Language Center student. Freedom of Information Law requests for NYPD’s report into the incident, Oyamada’s autopsy report and surveillance video that shows the collision have gone unanswered, their lawyer Christopher Fitzgerald said.
“The public is entitled to this information from the police irregardless of the litigation,” Fitzgerald said.
The city’s Law Department declined to comment on the incident due to the pending litigation, a spokeswoman said.
The Oyamada’s Manhattan-based attorney said he recently examined the vehicle involved in the crash along with the city’s attorney, but is still seeking 911 calls from the night of Oyamada’s death.
“I don’t know what the holdup is in regards to releasing this information. This is a public safety issue,” he said.
Oyamada’s family lives in Kobe, Japan, and traveled to the United States earlier this year to claim the 24-year-old’s body and find out more about what happened to the young musician.
“We just want to know the truth,” Oyamada’s mother, Chie, said in a statement. “The office which should oversee the Police Department has not been helpful at all. It is unbelievable that this is the reality of New York, the city everyone all over the world visits with big dreams.”
The family is trying to determine whether the police vehicle was speeding and if its lights or sirens were on at the time Oyamada was struck, Fitzgerald said.
“This is an issue that should be addressed by public leaders or community leaders,” he said.
Fitzgerald asked that anyone who had information about the incident get in touch with him at 646-580-3489 or cfitzgeral
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at timesledge
©2013 Community News Group
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