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Officer's Flippant Response To Woman's Death Feels Like The Last Straw – ‘She Was 26 Anyway & Had Limited Value’

Photo: LightField Studios/Steve Sanchez Photos - Shutterstock
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On January 23, 2023, Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old woman in Seattle was hit and killed by police cruiser driven by Officer Kevin Dave in a crosswalk. Dave was going 74 miles per hour in a zone where the speed limit was just 25. He was apparently responding to a call about a drug overdose but failed to turn on his lights and sirens. Kandula's death was devastating enough, but what followed was unbelievable.

Daniel Auderer, Vice President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild and a drug recognition expert, was assigned to the scene to assess whether or not Dave was impaired. His bodycam footage captured his commentary, and it is downright disturbing.

The officer laughed about the woman's death, describing her as having 'limited value'.

In a video circulating widely, Auderer is heard laughing hysterically about the young woman’s untimely and traumatic death. After describing how he thought the incident had occurred to another officer, Solan, who could not be heard in the recording, Auderer thought the woman’s family should be offered a paltry payment of $11,000 because in his opinion, she was 26 years old, and her value was limited.



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He laughed hysterically when he exclaimed, “But she is dead.” Auderer confirmed in the footage that there was no criminal investigation taking place, a slap in the face for Kandula’s mourning family just a day after her death. He referred to her as “just a regular person” and suggested that the department “just write a check” should her family take legal action.

An employee at the Police Department flagged the video after hearing Auderer’s crass commentary.

Now, the Office of Police Accountability is investigating, and the public is sickened and enraged by what they heard. To hear a person who is supposed to protect and serve talk about human life in such a hurtful way is both sad and jarring. 

The Police Guild would not comment on the situation, but in a statement, the Department said they had reached out to Kandula’s family and would allow the accountability process to run its course. They offered their condolences and sympathies to her loved ones, though it’s certain that justice would be much more appreciated at this point.

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Neither Auderer of Solan have responded made statements. However, according to CBS News, a conservative radio host claimed to have obtained the statement that Auderer had made to the Office of Police Accountability. In his response, he claimed that his comments had been taken out of context and were mere sarcasm, predicting how the City of Seattle’s lawyers would minimize liability for the tragic accident. Auderer allegedly claimed to have reported the recording himself, taking accountability, but that doesn’t seem to be true either, per the Office of Police Accountability.

Now, the King County Prosecuting Attorney is conducting a criminal investigation into Auderer’s actions.

The tragedy has undoubtedly increased the ever-growing mistrust between police and the communities they serve.

Kandula was studying for her master’s degree in information systems at Northeastern University’s Seattle Campus. Her loss is heartbreaking, especially to her mother back in India, to whom her body has been returned. It’s unfortunate that such a promising young life was extinguished in such a brutal way and to add insult to injury, the person responsible for holding her killer accountable, had no intentions of doing so because she was simply not worth it to him.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationships, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.