A police car sits in front of Seattle's Public Market at night.

Bodycam Footage Shows Responding Cop Laughing About Student’s Death: ‘She Was 26, She Had Limited Value Anyway’

On January 23, 2023, a 23-year-old student named Jaahnavi Kandula was struck and killed in a crosswalk by Seattle Police officer Kevin Dave, who was driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone and reportedly using his sirens only intermittently, on the way to answer an overdose call. Unfortunately, it gets worse from there.

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The bodycam footage

Kandula had moved from India to pursue her Master’s degree in Information Technology at Northeastern University.

After Kandula’s death was reported over the radio, another officer, Daniel Auderer, was called to the scene to check if Dave was under the influence of controlled substances. He is also a leader of the police union.

Auderer was recorded on his own bodycam laughing and saying that the city would “just write a check” and that Kandula “was 26 anyway… She had limited value.”

It should be noted that Auderer has previously been the subject of a huge number of investigations over the past decade. The Indian news outlet The News Minute writes:

According to information shared on social media by Divest SPD, Auderer has been the subject of eighteen investigations by the Office of Public Accountability (OPA) in Seattle since 2014 including for having illegally stopped, harassed and violently arrested two Mexican immigrants in 2010. 

Divest SPD said that, in 2010, Auderer and other officers beat a mentally ill man to the point he sustained permanent brain damage. In 2016, Auderer was investigated by the OPA twice for using force on women during arrests. He was also suspended for four days for conducting an off-duty arrest which is illegal, the organisation said. In 2017 Auderer allegedly punched a homeless man in the emergency room of the Harborview Hospital in Seattle. 

Auderer’s Response

After the bodycam footage was released on Monday, September 11, Auderer had been relatively silent. However, a conservative talk radio host on KTTH-AM, Jason Rantz, has shared a statement from Auderer, who now claims that his comments were taken out of comments. He claims his comments were “a mockery of lawyers… [and] at the ridiculousness of how these incidents are litigated and the ridiculousness of how I watched these incidents play out as two parties bargain over a tragedy.”

If you listen to Auderer’s comments, that excuse doesn’t explain or justify his flippant tone or his laughter while saying those disgusting words. Also, even if this were true, the comments unwittingly highlight a longstanding problem with police accountability. Unlike almost any other profession, police officers cannot be sued personally for damages thanks to qualified immunity. Instead, the city and its taxpayers are the ones who foot the bill for their behavior.

Police unions themselves aggravate the issue by getting in the way of harsher disciplinary measures. (Funny how cops don’t like it when rules apply to them.)

All of this has effectively led to police officers who know they cannot and will not be forced to obey the laws they themselves hold others to and has made it near impossible to bring actual justice to victims of police brutality, negligence, and recklessness.

No amount of money will ever bring back Jaahnavi Kandula. But the very least that can and should be done is firing the officers who caused her death and then laughed at it.

(featured image: David Ryder/Getty Images)


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Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.