Seattle, WA – A Seattle police officer is facing an internal investigation following an incident where he was recorded making deeply insensitive comments about a tragic accident.
In January, 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula tragically lost her life after being struck by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave as she was crossing a road. The incident was reported, and Officer Daniel Auderer was recorded on bodycam footage making disturbing remarks about the incident.
Officer Auderer appeared to downplay the severity of the tragedy, stating that the victim’s life had “limited value.” He mentioned the speed of the police car, driven by Officer Dave, saying, “He was going 50mph, that’s not reckless for a trained driver.” However, it was later revealed that the police car was traveling at 74mph while responding to an overdose call, causing Ms. Kandula to be thrown over 100ft (30m) upon impact.
In a shocking moment, Officer Auderer was heard telling Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, “Just write a cheque. She was 26 anyway. She had limited value.”
The Seattle Police Department has transferred the matter to the Office of Police Accountability, which is investigating the context of the comments and whether any policies were violated. Officer Auderer himself reported his comments after realizing they had been recorded.
The recorded remarks have been widely criticized, with the Community Police Commission calling them “heartbreaking and shockingly insensitive.” In a written statement, Officer Auderer explained that his comments were not intended with malice but were meant to mimic how lawyers might attempt to minimize liability in such incidents.
Despite Officer Auderer’s explanation, Ms. Kandula’s family expressed their grief and questioned the value placed on human life, noting that “a life is a life” and raising concerns about the value placed on the lives of the officers’ own family members. The investigation is ongoing as the community seeks answers and accountability in the wake of this tragic incident and its aftermath.
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