QUEENSBRIDGE — The family of a Japanese man fatally struck by a police car while crossing a Long Island City street in February has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the city, their attorney said.
The 24-year-old Oyamada was struck and killed while crossing 40th Avenue between 10th and 11th streets in Queensbridge on Feb. 21. The patrol car that hit him had been responding to a 911 call in the area, police said at the time.
Oyamada's relatives hired their own investigator after the incident, and believe the squad car had been speeding excessively and may not have had its lights and sirens on before the crash occurred, Kim said.
"They want to know exactly what happened," he said.
The family flew to New York from Japan to meet with police in early March but were frustrated by a lack of information, Kim said, including the NYPD's refusal to share surveillance footage from the scene.
He said the lawsuit is more about getting answers than it is about monetary compensation.
"The thing that they always emphasize is how badly they were treated when they were here by the NYPD," he said.
"We hope New York City will turn over whatever they need to turn over, which would include the surveillance video and any documents regarding the police car that was involved."
A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department said they will be reviewing the lawsuit as soon as they're served with the formal papers.
"We recognize that the matter involves tragic circumstances," spokeswoman Elizabeth Thomas said.
The NYPD did not immediately return a request for comment.
Kim said Oyamada's family was told by police that the NYPD is conducting an internal investigation of the incident, but that they have not been given any updates.
Oyamada had moved to New York a few months before his death, relocating from Kobe City, Japan, to study English. He was taking classes at a Zoni language center and was living in Queensbridge near where the accident occurred, Kim said.
He said the victim's family is dismayed by the city's response to Oyamada's death, and that they feel largely ignored by the NYPD, local politicians and the media.
"There's not much faith, on the Oyamadas' part, in this whole process," he said. "They're very suspicious, and rightfully so."