The funeral for Ryo Oyamada, the 24-year-old student who was fatally struck by a cop car in Queens in February, was held in his native Japan this past weekend, and grieving family members say they're still waiting for answers—and an apology—from the NYPD.
Oyamada's sister, Tomoko Suzuki, tells us over a hundred friends attended his funeral, which was held this past Saturday at a spot by the sea ("because he loved sea," she told us). A friend of Ryo's put a short film together featuring photographs the student took during the three months he spent studying English at a language school in New York. "Ryo left a lot of nice photos about NY," his sister told us via email. "We tried to taste and feel what he wanted, how much he loved NY....I could find love, loneliness, pleasure kindness." The family also set up balloons for Oyamada and released them into the air in celebration of his short life. "We lost Ryo suddenly, and also now we couldn't know why he had to die, and how he died." Suzuki said.
Meanwhile, though the Oyamada family has been asking the NYPD to release results of an internal investigation regarding the night of Oyamada's death, including surveillance tapes of the accident, they have yet to receive any answers. Suzuki even sent Mayor Bloomberg a letter begging for answers last month, and she says the family feels the NYPD is ignoring her brother's case. "NYPD (two officers) killed my brother Ryo, it's fact," Suzuki wrote in an email, referring to the two officers in the vehicle that fatally struck Oyamada as he crossed a street mid-block in Queensbridge on February 21st. While the NYPD told the family the car that struck Oyamada was traveling between 35 and 39 mph with its emergency lights activated, witnesses have said the patrol cruiser was traveling much faster, and that lights or sirens were NOT on.
"We want to believe that New York is a humane city," Suzuki wrote. "And we wonder why the NYPD is trying to withhold evidence. We feel their lazy attitude. They should apologize as human beings... I think it's [the] normal thing. Why doesn't NYC change this? Is Mayor Bloomberg really considering the safety for New Yorkers?"
The Oyamada family is currently preparing to file a lawsuit against the city. "We just want to know why and how he died," Suzuki wrote. "Why I have to lose my brother suddenly.....why I have to feel sorrow and helpless like this... why we can't know why he died."
Gothamist has a Freedom of Information Law request pending with the NYPD in an attempt to obtain security camera video of the crash.