NEW YORK – The family of 24-year-old Ryo Oyamada, who was struck and killed by a New York Police Department patrol car on Feb. 21, said they have filed a notice of claim against the department and city.
“My son came to America to study English and then a police car took his life. I’m extremely distressed,” his father, Tsukasa, 60, told reporters Friday at his Manhattan lawyer’s office. “I want to know the truth.”
The lead attorney, Jeffrey Kim, said he has begun an independent investigation and hopes the NYPD will cooperate in sharing evidence, such as surveillance videos and speed monitoring devices, in relation to Oyamada’s death Thursday. He was a resident of Kagawa Prefecture.
“We ask that they provide and disclose these items as soon as possible,” Kim said, adding the family wants a “full and thorough investigation” to be conducted with the collaboration and support of both the NYPD and city authorities.
A notice of claim was filed Thursday in New York City, launching the first stage of a potential lawsuit. The NYPD and the city of New York were named in the notice of claim, with the family asking for monetary damages of $8 million (¥749 million) for “wrongful death,” according to the document.
“We really want to know exactly what happened when Ryo Oyamada was violently struck” by the police patrol car, Kim said.
The NYPD says the investigation is ongoing.
In a separate interview Thursday, Oyamada’s father said he was told during a personal briefing with the NYPD that the cruiser had been responding to reports of a man wielding a knife in the area. To avoid alerting the suspect, the vehicle was approaching without using its flashing lights or siren when it stuck and killed Oyamada.
Ryo Oyamada had been in the U.S. since November to study English at a Manhattan language school.