Outrage is still boiling over in Seattle after video surfaced showing a Seattle Police officer joking about the death of a young woman, killed by another officer. That outrage is also going international.
On Thursday, the Seattle Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression hosted a second rally for Jaahnavi Kandula’s tragic death. The first time was right after she was hit and killed by a Seattle Police squad car in the crosswalk at the Thomas and Dexter intersection.
The group gathered to demand action be taken against Officer Daniel Auderer, the officer heard in the body camera footage, and against Seattle Police Officer’s Guild President Mike Solen.
The Indian Association of Western Washington is also outraged. They told KIRO 7 they reached out to the Seattle Police Department after Jaahnavi was killed. They asked to be kept in the loop about the investigation but say that didn’t happen. Instead, the Executive Director says they were blindsided by the body camera footage.
“Today we as a community are shocked, we are in pain because this happened to one of our daughters,” said Lalita Uppala, the Executive Director of the Indian Association of Western Washington.
She said they’ve been waiting eight months for an update from Seattle Police on the investigation into Jaahnavi Kandula’s death on January 23, 2023. Uppala said they got radio silence until Monday, when the body camera footage began to go viral. In that footage Seattle Police officer Daniel Auderer is recorded saying just write a check, $11,000. She was 26 anyways. She had limited value.”
“This callous remark of the value to her life, or the lack of value or the fact that there was so much scorn and laughter in that conversation,” said Uppala. She added, “Is this how the caretakers of our community will refer to us?”
Uppala said the Indian community is devastated, and now questions if they can trust the police department.
“Are we really safe? Are we valued? Are our lives valued? because we thought we are but we don’t know that,” said Uppala.
The Indian Consulate in San Francisco posted to “X”:
“Recent reports including in media of the handling of Ms. Jaahnavi Kandula’s death in a road accident in Seattle in January are deeply troubling. We have taken up the matter strongly with local authorities in Seattle and Washington State as well as senior officials in Washington DC. for a thorough investigation and action against those involved in this tragic case. The Consulate and Embassy will continue to closely follow up on this matter with all concerned authorities.”
The officer in the video, Daniel Auderer is the Vice President of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. He was named in two lawsuits against the city in 2010 and 2011. As of August, his annual base salary found on a city website was over $119,000 without including overtime. He was on the phone in the recording with the Guild President, Mike Solen.
“This is the vice president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, there’s a really serious problem in the system. It’s not just one or two bad apples, it’s a systemic issue that needs to be solved,” said Ray Mitchell, with the Seattle Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “The people that enforce our laws they can’t be held to a lower standard than the rest of us, they have to be held to a higher standard.”
“At this point I think it’s not only about the Indian community, it’s about our community,” Uppala added.
KIRO 7 has a Public Disclosure Request in with the Seattle Police Department for any disciplinary actions taken against Auderer throughout his tenure with SPD.