In his defense, the Seattle Police officer stated that he laughed at the absurdity of the litigation process and the way tragedies are negotiated between parties.
A photo of Jaahnavi Kandula is displayed at the intersection in Seattle where she was killed by a police officer. (Photo: AP)
The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild recently defended one of its officials who was found making insensitive comments after the death of Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula earlier this year. Kandula was struck by officer Kevin Dave while crossing the road on the night of January 23, 2023.
In bodycam footage released by the Seattle Police Department, another officer, Daniel Auderer, can be heard laughing about the deadly crash and dismissing any implication that Dave might be at fault. The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild stated that the video captures only one side of the conversation and fails to provide the full story and context.
Auderer, in a letter to the Office of Police Accountability, explained that his comments were intended as a mockery of lawyers and the litigious nature of such incidents. He also expressed regret for the insensitivity of his remarks and acknowledged that they could be interpreted as horrifying without context.
The guild expressed confidence in the civilian-led police accountability system and emphasized the need for a thorough and fair investigation. An online petition has been launched calling for Auderer’s termination, citing concerns about public safety and the rights of individuals.
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant has called for an immediate, independent, public investigation into the incident and has called for the firing of Auderer and the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.