USA: Policeman Laughs On Death of Indian Student

Jaahnavi Kandula's death in a Seattle police car accident sparked outrage over a viral video of an officer's insensitive comments, fueling demands for accountability.

Jaahnavi Kandula (23) is a native of Andhra Pradesh. Jaahnavi  went to Seattle, USA in 2021 to pursue a Master's degree. She was in her final year at the Engineering college. She was to graduate in December 2023. In January 2023, Jaahnavi  was hit on a crosswalk by a Seattle cop's car. The car was travelling at over 120 KMPH in a 40 KMPH zone. The police car was driven by Officer Kevin Dave and he was on his way to investigate a complaint of an overdose. Jaahnavi was taken to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. In a video going viral on social media, another police officer of the Seattle Police Department can be heard joking and laughing while discussing the accident.In the clip, the police officer Daniel Auderer is in a call with another officer, Mike Solan. He said, “There is initially – he said she was in a crosswalk, there is a witness that said, ‘No she wasn’t,’ but that could be different, because I don’t think she was thrown 40 feet, either. She is dead.” He then can be heard laughing. After that he continued, “No, it’s a regular person – yeah, yeah, just write a check, just, yeah.” And then he laughed again. He then said “$11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.” This video has left everyone shocked. Indian Consulate in San Francisco termed the handling of Kandula's death in a road accident as "deeply troubling" and sought action against those involved in the case. People are surprised as Daniel Auderer is Seattle Police Officers' Guild Vice President. It is a Union (organization) of police officers in Seattle. They help police officers, their families and the community in general. Daniel said the conversation was private and meant to be part of his duties. He said he called Solan “to explain what happened” and that he by mistake left his body camera running. Daniel said, “Mr Solan told me it was unfortunate that Kandula’s death would turn into lawyers arguing the value of human life. I responded, “She’s 26 years old. What value is there? Who cares?” “The comment was a mockery of lawyers. I laughed at the ridiculousness of how lawyers argue over such incidents.” Daneil agreed that anyone listening to the body-camera recording would surely believe that he was being insensitive to the loss of human life. He said that he doesn’t have a hard heart. The Seattle Police Department said, “The video was identified in the routine course of work by a department employee. However, it is being investigated. Kandula’s uncle said, “The family has nothing to say. I wonder if these men’s daughters or granddaughters have value. A life is a life.”