WASHINGTON: An investigation has been launched against Seattle police union leaders after an officer was recorded on his body camera appearing to joke about the death of an Indian-origin woman who was killed by a police patrol vehicle in January this year, NBC News reported.
On Monday, the Seattle Police Department released footage from Officer Daniel Auderer’s body camera. Auderer left his body camera on after responding to the South Lake Union area where a marked patrol vehicle driven by another officer Kevin Dave struck and killed Indian-origin woman Jaahnavi Kandula, according to NBC News report.
A day after the incident, the police said that the officer had been responding to a “priority one call.” In the footage Auderer, who serves as vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, is driving and can be heard talking about the accident that involved 23-year-old graduate student Kandula in a call with the guild’s president Mike Solan.
In the video, Auderer can be heard saying “she is dead” before bursting out into laughter.
Referring to Kandula, Auderer said, “No, it’s a regular person.” Towards the end of the clip, he can be heard saying, through bursts of laughter, “Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway,” misstating the age of the victim. He further said, “She had limited value,” New York Post reported.
Auderer said that he did not believe a criminal investigation was being carried out. He said, “I mean, he was going 50 mph. That’s not out of control. That’s not reckless for a trained driver.”
However, a report released in June revealed that Dave was driving 74 mph in a 25-mph zone while responding to a different “high-priority” call, NBC News reported citing KIRO 7.
Auderer visited the site of the incident to carry out a drug test on Dave, New York Post reported. Timestamps on the bodycam footage revealed that he was revealing details regarding the incident in his call to another colleague the following evening.
In a statement on September 11, the Seattle Police Department said, “The following video was identified in the routine course of business by a department employee, who, concerned about the nature of statements heard on that video, appropriately escalated their concerns through their chain of command to the Chief’s Office which, following a review of the video, referred the matter to OPA for investigation into the context in which those statements were made and any policy violation that might be implicated. This is what department policy and the City’s Accountability Ordinance require.”
According to the incident footage, Dave had chirped his siren but did not have it running continuously when he hit Kandula, New York Post reported.
According to Dave’s bodycam footage, he admitted he “f***** up,” after speeding through the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street, where the speed limits are 20 and 25 mph.
After reaching the top speed, he can be slowing the vehicle before hitting Kandula. He performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the exchange student, who arrived at Northeastern University in Seattle from India to pursue a master’s of science information systems at the College of Engineering, according to New York Post report.
Jaahnavi Kandula, a native of Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district, was due to graduate this December. (ANI)