Who was Jaahnavi Kandula? How did she die in Seattle accident?
Jaahnavi Kandula who hailed from Andhra Pradesh was pursuing a master’s degree from the Northeastern University campus in South Lake Union.
A video of the US police officer joking and laughing over the death of the Indian-origin student - Jaahnavi Kandula - in an accident in Seattle has taken the internet by storm, followed by a massive outrage. The Indian Consulate in San Francisco has also demanded a probe into the incident amid the uproar.
Who was Jaahnavi Kandula?
Jaahnavi Kandula who hailed from Andhra Pradesh was pursuing a master’s degree from the Northeastern University campus in South Lake Union. She went to the US from Bengaluru on a student exchange program in 2021 and was due to graduate this December.
Kandula was the daughter to a single mother who taught elementary school, reported Seattle Times. Reportedly, her mother took on financial debt so that Kandula could travel to the United States and pursue her Master's degree.
“Her priority was to help her family,” Kandula's uncle told the Seattle Times.
What exactly happened?
On January 23, Jaahnavi Kandula - a 23-year-old graduate student from Northeastern University - was killed after she was hit by a patrol car driven by police officer Kevin Dave in Seattle. According to reports, Dave was driving the car at 74 mph (119 kmph) on the way to a report of an overdose when he hit Kandula at the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street. Reportedly, her body was thrown more than 100 feet (30 meters) away.
Immediately the student was taken to Harborview Medical Center, however, she succumbed to her injuries, according to reports.
Outrage over US cop mocking Kandula's death
A massive outrage broke out after the Seattle Police Department released footage from accused officer Daniel Auderer's body camera on Monday in which he can be heard joking and laughing about the incident.
In the video clip, Auderer - who serves as vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild - was reportedly talking about the accident in a call with the guild's president Mike Solan. He laughed several times after saying “she is dead”.
Toward the end of the clip, the officer can be heard saying, “Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway…She had limited value.”
Reportedly, Auderer also told Solan that Dave's (the accused officer) vehicle was “going 50” and that was “not out of control”.
India demands probe
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday demanded a “thorough investigation” into the incident amid the uproar.
“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 & Washington State as well as senior officials in Washington DC .. for a thorough investigation & action against those involved in this tragic case. The Consulate & Embassy will continue to closely follow up on this matter with all concerned authorities,” the Consulate General of India in San Francisco wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.