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Family of Japanese Man Killed by NYPD Settles Suit 'With Heavy Hearts'

By Jeanmarie Evelly | May 31, 2017 11:33am | Updated on May 31, 2017 1:26pm
 A photo of Ryo Oyamada, who was killed in 2013 after being struck by a NYPD patrol car.
A photo of Ryo Oyamada, who was killed in 2013 after being struck by a NYPD patrol car.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

LONG ISLAND CITY — The family of a Japanese student struck and killed by an NYPD patrol car in 2013 have accepted a $540,000 settlement from the city — but blasted the city for failing to hold the officers behind the wheel accountable.

Relatives of Ryo Oyamada agreed to settle their lawsuit for $540,000 with "heavy hearts" after a four-year quest for answers in the case, they said in a statement.

But they excoriated the city and the police department for their refusal to hold officers to the same standards as other drivers.

"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," Oyamada's parents and two sisters wrote.

"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," they added.

Oyamada's family, who are based in Japan and Germany, chided the police department for displaying a "lack of justice and accountability."

"Ryo was a son, brother, and friend who was loving and was loved," they said in a statement. "If he had not been unjustly killed, he would also have been an uncle."

Oyamada, who had moved to New York from Japan to study English, was struck and killed by an NYPD patrol car as he was crossing 40th Avenue midway between 10th and 11th streets near the Queensbridge Houses on Feb. 21, 2013.

Darren Ilardi, the officer driving the car, told an administrative law judge that he and his partner were responding to a call of an assault-in-progress at the time, but admitted that he'd turned the car's emergency lights off shortly before the crash — contradicting earlier NYPD statements that the lights had been activated.

An expert who reviewed the crash on behalf of Oyamada's family estimated that the patrol car had been traveling at just over 64 miles per hour at the time of the incident.

DMV hearing Family and friends of Ryo Oyamada outside the DMV's offices following a hearing in 2015 (DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)

"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," the family said in a statement.

But Ilardi was cleared of wrongdoing after a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing in 2015, with an administrative law judge concluding that Oyamada's "sudden appearance" in the roadway made the crash "unavoidable," Gothamist reported at the time.

The NYPD declined to comment on the case, referring questions to the city's Law Department.

A spokesman for the Law Department called 24-year-old Oyamada's death a "tragic incident" and said that it was in the "city's best interest" to settle the litigation.