Newly released footage suggests the NYPD lied about the details of an incident that left 24-year-old Ryo Oyamada dead.
As Gothamist’s John Del Signore reports, many of the specifics surrounding Oyamada’s death are not in dispute. Oyamada was struck and killed on February 21, 2013 by an NYPD squad car driven by Officer Darren Illardi. Oyamada was crossing the intersection of 10th street and 40th avenue in Queens when he was hit.
It is the events leading up to Oyamada being hit that are in question. According to multiple witnesses, Officer Illardi did not have his emergency lights on when he struck Oyamada. The NYPD denies that claim, and says Illardi and his partner did, in fact, have their lights on and were responding to an emergency call.
Two recent developments may prove damning for the NYPD's story. First, radio transcripts and documents provided to Gothamist by the city show Illardi and his partner were not responding to an emergency call when Oyamada was hit. There was a reported knife incident nearby, but other units, not including Illardi’s, were assigned to it.
Second, Illardi did not have his emergency lights on when he struck Oyamada. Released surveillance footage shows Illardi speeding down the street just seconds before striking Oyamada without his lights on. The lights appear to flash on moments after Oyamada was hit, which corroborates eyewitness accounts.
Here is a helpful video that uses computer animation and surveillance footage to illustrate the flaws in the NYPD’s narrative:
Oyamada’s attorney thinks the NYPD cut off the footage prematurely before releasing it. Normally, attorney Steve Vaccaro says, footage the NYPD releases shows an “overgenerous sampling” of the crime scene. This video cuts off before the scene is ever shown.
“My opinion, as someone who has looked at many videotape extracts taken by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad, is that this is not normal, that [the NYPD] would cut off the video right before it depicts the crash scene. Usually it's an overgenerous sampling of video,” Vacarro says.
Gothamist reports that the NYPD still refuses to release the Collision Investigation Squad’s report on the crash that killed Oyamada. At a press conference last year, Oyamada’s father said “I would like to know the truth.”
As the video above notes, the Oyamada family is suing New York City for $8 million for the gross negligence of Illardi that led to Oyamada’s death.