The family of Ryo Oyamada announced “with heavy hearts” a settlement with the NYPD. A police officer struck and killed Ryo while driving more than twice the speed limit at night against the flow of traffic and without using lights or sirens.
Vaccaro told Gothamist that the Oyamadas had hoped an investigation into Ryo’s death would help prevent future vehicular deaths at the hands of the NYPD, but were disheartened by the department’s unending red tape. “They wanted changes made so there were not more young people killed senselessly in these preventable crashes. At the end of process they were very frustrated,” he told us.
“We made a number of proposals to city, increasing awareness and accountability for officers, procedures for greater accountability, changes to road design, trying to get facts out to what happened,” Vaccaro said. “The redactions and report show the city was very firm with their position that they were not going to agree with non-economic proposals, and not going to entertain disclosure of evidence developed in the discovery process. The city doesn’t think that the facts of incident like this should be made public.”
He added, “That’s something that was very difficult to explain to my clients from Japan. They were very surprised by the cloak of secrecy involved with an incident like this, with a police officer on duty. I don’t think that the secrecy helps us avoid more tragedy.” Indeed, Vaccaro said, “To the contrary, I think it means this will continue to happen and the city will pay out money in settlements, but I don’t see progress being made in preventing them from happening.”
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