Protesters in Seattle have demanded the resignation of two police officers following the death of a student from India and callous remarks by one of them.
SEATTLE — Outrage grew Friday over a Seattle police officer’s remark that the life of a young woman killed by a speeding patrol car had “limited value.” protested the police officer’s callous jokes recorded on bodycam video.
Footage released this week shows Officer Daniel Auderer, vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Association, joking with a junior police union president after a police car sped by a police officer. another officer stabbed on January 23. Jaahnavi Kandula at a crosswalk.
Protesters on Thursday night gathered at the Seattle intersection where the 23-year-old graduate student was fatally struck by Officer Kevin Dave’s SUV. The King County Prosecutor’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into the crash.
Auderer responded to the accident to assess whether Dave was impaired, The Seattle Times reported. Dave was driving 74 mph (119 km/h) in a 25 mph (40 km/h) speed zone on his way to an overdose call.
Then Auderer leave his body camera on when he called Seattle Police Officers Association President Mike Solan to report what had happened. In the recording released by the police department on Monday, Auderer laughed and suggested that Kandula’s life had “limited value” and that the city should just write a check for $11,000.
At Thursday’s protest, 5-year-old Layla Allibhai sat on her father Mo Allibhai’s shoulders while holding a sign that read: “I have infinite value. Same with Jaahnavi.”
Protesters also carried signs that read “Cops kill in jail” and “Convict Kevin Dave.”
“I think this has excited people because valuing a human life at $11,000 is so blatant and disrespectful,” said Patricia Hunter, co-president of the Association. Community Policing Committee, said in an interview Friday. “And that makes people see that the culture at the Seattle Police Department has some problems that need to be addressed immediately.”
Hunter’s commission was established to hold police accountable, along with the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Police Accountability. Hunter said their next step is to work with those partners to see what charges could be brought in the case, what policies may have been broken and “to amplify the voices of the community.” The community is outraged by this video, so that justice can be served.” .”
The Consulate General of India in San Francisco tweeted that they had brought the “deeply troubling” matter to authorities in Seattle and Washington, DC, and that they wanted a thorough investigation and action against those involved. The press in India followed the incident.
In a statement on Friday, the US State Department called the situation worrying.
“We are aware of and deeply troubled by what was said about Ms. Kandula’s death in body camera footage recently released by the Seattle Police Department,” the State Department said. “We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere condolences to Ms. Kandula’s family and loved ones.”
The Seattle Police Officers Association said in a statement Friday that it understood the outrage caused by the “extremely insensitive comments.”
“It tarnishes the law enforcement profession, the reputation of all Seattle Police officers and paints Seattle in a terrible light,” the coalition said. “We feel deep sadness and grief for the family of Jaahnavi Kandula as this video victimizes them in an already tragic situation as they continue to mourn her death. We are truly sorry.”
But the union noted that the bodycam footage only captured Auderer’s side of the conversation: “There are many more details and nuances that have yet to be made public.”
Solan, who was on the other end of the call with Auderer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Auderer, in an Aug. 8 statement he provided to the Office of Police Accountability that the union released Friday, said Solan had lamented the death and that his own comments were aimed at arresting imitating how the city’s attorneys might try to minimize liability for it.
“I laugh at the absurdity of the way these cases are litigated and the ridiculousness of watching these cases unfold as two sides negotiate a tragedy,” Auderer wrote. .”
He denied that his remarks were “made with malice or a calloused heart.”
Kandula is from Andhra Pradesh, a state in the southern coastal region of India. Relatives told The Seattle Times that Kandula came to Seattle so she could one day support her mother back home in India. Kandula is preparing to receive her master’s degree in information systems this December from Northeastern University’s Seattle campus.