Who was Jaahnavi Kandula, the Indian student who was killed by US cop in Seattle

A shocking video of a US cop has come out where he was caught laughing and making jokes about a young Indian woman who was killed by his colleague Officer Kevin Dave on earlier this year. On Monday, the Seattle Police Department released footage from accused officer Daniel Auderer’s body camera. On this, the Consulate General of India in San Francisco has raised concerns over the handling of an Indian-origin woman, Jaahnavi Kandula, who was killed by a police vehicle, and has also demanded a through investigation and action against those involved.

Who was Jaahnavi Kandula?

Jaahnavi Kandula, daughter of a single mother hailed from Andhra Pradesh. She was pursuing her master’s degree at Northeastern University in Seattle and went to the US in 2021 from Bengaluru on a student exchange program. Her uncle Ashok Mandula had told Seattle Times in January that Jaahnavi was due to graduate in December this year. 

What did the released footage from accused officer Daniel Auderer’s body camera show

On 23 January, Kevin Dave struck and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, in a crosswalk. Dave was driving 74 mph (119 kmh) on the way to an overdose call, and Auderer, a drug recognition expert, was assigned to evaluate whether Dave was impaired, The Seattle Times reported.

Afterward, Auderer left his body-worn camera on as he called guild President Mike Solan to report what happened. In a recording released by the police department on Monday, who serves as vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, is driving and was 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 as quoted by ANI.

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 police investigation report referred to prosecutors for review last month said that Dave had been driving at 74 mph, and Kandula was thrown more than 100 feet after the impact.

Indian demands probe:

India has raised the matter strongly with the US authorities for a thorough investigation and action against those guilty in the case.

The Consulate General of India in San Francisco in a post on X called the incident deeply troubling. It wrote, “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”

(With inputs from PTI, Associated Press, ANI)


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Updated: 14 Sep 2023, 12:37 PM IST


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