An investigation is currently underway regarding a Seattle police officer, Daniel Auderer, whose bodycam footage captured him making disturbing remarks while responding to a tragic incident involving the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old graduate student. The incident, which occurred near Northeastern University, raises questions about the conduct and empathy of law enforcement officers in the city.
On January 23rd, Jaahnavi Kandula lost her life in a heart-wrenching incident when she was fatally struck by a police patrol car while crossing the street. The shocking details emerged from a police investigation report, revealing that the police car was traveling at a staggering speed of 74 mph (119 km/h), causing Kandula’s body to be thrown over 100 feet (30 meters).
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Disturbing Bodycam Footage
Officer Daniel Auderer, who was dispatched to the scene, had his body camera recording during the incident. However, it was not the tragic accident that sent shockwaves but rather his disturbing comments made during a call to a colleague. He can be heard saying, “But she is dead,” followed by laughter. He continued, “No, it’s a regular person. Yeah, just write a cheque,” before laughing again. Most shockingly, he commented, “Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26, anyway. She had limited value.”
Officer Auderer, who also serves as a union leader in the Seattle Police Department, has defended himself by claiming that his comments were taken out of context. A conservative talk radio host reported that Auderer stated his comments were meant to mimic how city attorneys might try to minimize liability for the woman’s death, laughing at the absurdity of such situations. However, this explanation has not quelled the outrage and demands for accountability.
Discovery and Escalation
The Seattle Police Department’s discovery of the disturbing conversation was made public when an employee listened to it “in the routine course of business” and grew concerned about the nature of the statements. These concerns were swiftly escalated up the chain of command, ultimately leading to the involvement of the Office of Police Accountability, the agency responsible for investigating police misconduct.
The Office of Police Accountability is currently investigating the context in which Officer Auderer’s statements were made and whether any policies or guidelines had been violated. Concurrently, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has initiated a criminal review of the crash, adding another layer of scrutiny to the incident.
Public and Community Reactions
The revelation of the bodycam footage has sparked outrage among the public and various community organizations. The Seattle Community Police Commission, an oversight agency, described the footage as “heartbreaking and shockingly insensitive.” Victoria Beach, the chair of the African American Community Advisory Council, expressed her shock and distress, stating that she was “sickened” by the callousness displayed in the video.
The case of Officer Daniel Auderer’s disturbing comments during a tragic incident involving the death of Jaahnavi Kandula has shaken the city of Seattle and raised questions about police conduct and accountability. As investigations continue to unfold, the community, law enforcement agencies, and the public eagerly await the results, hoping for clarity and justice in the wake of this unsettling incident. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in law enforcement and the need for continued efforts to rebuild trust between the police and the communities they serve.