On February 21, 2013, while attempting to cross the street in New York, a 24-year-old student from Japan was struck and killed by a New York City police car that was on route to an emergency call. Although the officer, and later the police report, claimed that the police car’s lights and siren were activated prior to the pedestrian accident, eye witness testimony did not back up this claim.
For awhile there it was the word of the witnesses against police. But now, thanks to video evidence obtained with the help of the Freedom of Information Act, the victim’s family may be able to prove the witnesses correct, which could lead to compensation if a judge allows them to proceed with their wrongful death lawsuit.
Although the video is “highly edited” and may contain incorrect time stamps, it may very well show that the officer responsible for causing the crash did not have his lights and siren activated as his report indicated. The video allegedly shows instead that the officer only turned on his lights and siren after the crash had occurred, as witnesses claimed.
If the officer’s actions are seen as negligent then it’s possible that the victim’s family could receive compensation for the loss of their loved one. Although compensatory or punitive damages will never be able to change what happened or bring back the deceased 24-year-old, it may at least give his family some sense of closure. And from reports, this appears to be the main purpose of their civil lawsuit.
Source: The New York Magazine, “NYPD Accused of Covering Up Pedestrian Death by Cop Car,” Joe Coscarelli, Aug. 20, 2014