By Christina Santucci
The family of a Japanese student struck and killed by a police cruiser in Queensbridge has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the city and NYPD in hopes of finding out the circumstances surrounding his death, their lawyer said.
“They were outraged at the treatment they received from the NYPD and the fact that no one came forward to apologize for the incident, not to take responsibility or liability,” said Bayside-based attorney Jeffrey Kim, who is representing the family of 24-year-old Ryo Oyamada.
Oyamada was 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.
The officer behind the wheel was one of several assigned to Police Service Area 9, which covers most of the public housing projects in Queens, police said. The civil action suit, filed in Brooklyn federal court, alleges negligence on the part of the officer who was driving..
A spokesman for the NYPD said Wednesday the department does not comment on pending litigation and the investigation into the accident was ongoing.
Kim said Oyamada’s family traveled earlier this year to the United States from their home in Kobe, Japan, to retrieve his body and sought details about the Zoni Language Center student’s death.
“They want to know exactly what happened and they want the police to disclose whatever investigation, reports, videos to the family,” he said.
But Oyamada’s parents — Tsukasa and Chie Oyamada — were not satisfied with the amount of information they received, he said.
Kim said Tuesday he was told by his process server that the documents had been served that day and there have not been any scheduled court appearances so far.
Later this month, they will have the opportunity to examine the NYPD vehicle involved in the accident, Kim said.
“I was told it was in the same condition that it was the night of the accident,” he said.
Specifically, the Oyamada family wants to determine if the vehicle was speeding at the time and if its lights and sirens were in use, the attorney had said in a previous interview. The suit also seeks a trial by jury.
Kim said he has been searching for additional people who saw the accident as opposed to those who heard about what had happened.
“That has been the most difficult thing, getting the actual eye witnesses to come forward,” he said.
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4589.