FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 30, 2017
Statement of the Oyamada Family Regarding Settlement for the Death of Ryo Oyamada (Iijima v. City of New York et al)
In response to a settlement being reached in a civil suit against the City of New York for the 2013 death of Ryo Oyamada, who was struck and killed by a speeding NYPD patrol car, Oyamada’s family released the following statement.
“On February 21, 2013, our youngest family member Ryo Oyamada was struck and killed by a speeding NYPD patrol car next to Queensbridge Houses, when he was just 24 years old.
Ryo was a son, brother, and friend who was loving and was loved. If he had not been unjustly killed, he would also have been an uncle.
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. 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.
When Ryo was killed, we flew immediately to New York City. When we met Ryo's body, our mother asked ‘How was Ryo killed with such gruesome damage to his body by a speeding police car in a residential area?’ It didn’t make any sense then, and after over four years, it still doesn’t make sense. The NYPD officers in the patrol car were not responding to an assault in progress and had not activated their emergency lights, even though the NYPD claimed the opposite in its initial accounts. Findings of forensic expert Peter Chen demonstrate Ryo was killed in a preventable crash.
There is and has been a lack of political will to hold the NYPD accountable for killing Ryo. Our family feels that there is no way to hold the NYPD accountable through the court system.
After over four years, we have decided with heavy hearts to accept a settlement of our lawsuit against the city for his death.
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.
As the city continues a Vision Zero plan to reduce preventable traffic deaths, it is unfortunately exempting NYPD officers from following the rules and being held accountable for pedestrian deaths.
New Yorkers should understand that nothing has changed in the NYPD to prevent this from happening again. Officer Darren Ilardi, who was driving the vehicle when it hit Ryo, has not faced any meaningful consequences and the NYPD and City of New York have let him escape accountability for his actions.
This lack of justice and accountability pervades the NYPD’s handling of the crash that took Ryo from us.”
Chie Oyamada, mother of Ryo Oyamada
Tsukasa Oyamada, father of Ryo Oyamada
Tomoko Suzuki, sister of Ryo Oyamada
Kaoru Takano, sister of Ryo Oyamada
Steve Vaccaro, attorney for the Oyamada family, stated:
“I was deeply disappointed that the City denied all of the non-economic relief requested by the Oyamada family--measures aimed at accountability for the officers involved, preventing a re-occurrence, or simply allowing the public to know the full truth of what happened the night Ryo Oyamada was killed.”###