India reacts as US cop who killed Jaahnavi Kandula gets off scot-free | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Justice for Jaahnavi: India reacts as Seattle police officer who ran over Andhra student gets off scot-free

Feb 24, 2024 01:08 PM IST

Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula died after being struck by a patrol vehicle. The police officer driving it will not face any criminal charges.

Amid reports of a US police officer not facing any criminal charges in the death of Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula, the Consulate General of India in Seattle said it has strongly raised the matter with the local authorities.

A photo of Jaahnavi Kandula is displayed with flowers, Jan. 29, 2023 in Seattle.(AP)
A photo of Jaahnavi Kandula is displayed with flowers, Jan. 29, 2023 in Seattle.(AP)

Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, was struck and killed by Officer Kevin Dave's patrol vehicle as she crossed a street in Seattle on January 23. The officer was reportedly responding to a drug overdose call, travelling at a speed of 74 mph, according to reports. Kandula was thrown 100 feet upon impact.

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On Wednesday, the King County Prosecutor’s Office said they will not move forward with criminal charges against Kevin Dave, FOX13 Seattle reported.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion said, "Kandula’s death is heartbreaking and impacted communities in King County and across the world."

"It is the responsibility of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to review all available evidence relating to the case involving Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave and the January 2023 collision death of Jaahnavi Kandula. After staffing this case with senior deputy prosecuting attorneys and office leadership, I have determined that we lack sufficient evidence under Washington State law to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Justice for Jaahnavi

Reacting to the prosecuting attorney's statement, the Consulate General of India in Seattle said it has been in “regular touch with the designated family representatives and will continue to extend all possible support in ensuring justice for Jaahnavi and her family.”

“We have also raised the matter strongly with local authorities, including Seattle Police for appropriate redress. The case has now been referred to Seattle City Attorney’s office for review.”

“We await completion of Seattle Police's administrative investigation and will continue to monitor progress on the case,” it added.

The bodycam footage showed Officer Daniel Auderer, who was not directly involved in the collision, laughing about the crash and making insensitive comments about Kandula's age and worth.

Auderer was captured in the video saying, "But she is dead" and laughing while on the phone.

"She was 26 anyway," Auderer said in the video. "She had limited value."

Auderer was pulled from patrol in September 2023 and reassigned to a "non-operational position." He could still be fired after the fallout of his insensitive comments captured on bodycam.

"Officer Auderer’s comments were also unprofessional and undermined the public’s trust in the Seattle Police Department and law enforcement in general," said Manion.

“As egregious as Officer Auderer’s comments are, they do not change the PAO’s legal analysis into the conduct of Officer Dave. It is the Office of Police Accountability that bears the responsibility of disciplinary investigation and proceedings relating to Officer Auderer’s comment, not the PAO.”

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