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Seattle officer caught on camera laughing at crash that killed student

The officer was mocking the incident in which another officer struck and killed a 23-year-old pedestrian and grad student.
Seattle officer caught on camera laughing at crash that killed student
Posted at 9:43 AM, Sep 12, 2023

Bodycam footage newly released by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) captured an alarming conversation between two officers making light of a situation in which an officer struck and killed a pedestrian in January.

An officer can be heard laughing and mocking the incident.

The pedestrian was 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula, a Seattle grad student, according to local station KOMO News.

In the video, Det. Daniel Auderer is heard discussing the incident on a phone call with a coworker, whom the Seattle Community Police Commision (CPC) believe to be Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. 

"She is dead," Auderer said before breaking into laughter. 

"Just write a check," he said while laughing, suggesting the situation over her death can be paid off. Auderer joked about her age, saying "she had low value anyways" and that her life was only worth $11,000.

While neither of the officers was the one who hit the woman, the conversation took place shortly after the incident.

The video released by the SPD can be seen here:

The Seattle Police Department said an employee came across the footage during routine business and escalated their concerns through their chain of command to the chief's office. The matter was referred to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for investigation.

In a statement, the CPC called the conversation "heartbreaking and shockingly insensitive."

"The people of Seattle deserve better from a police department that is charged with fostering trust with the community and ensuring public safety," the CPC said in the statement.

SPD also released a statement on the matter.

"While any incident of public concern is under OPA, SPD or OIG review, no city employee should comment, either in their official or personal capacity, in a way that suggests that any factual, policy, or legal conclusions have been reached about the incident," the statement said.

The police department said it released the video as a matter of transparency, but per city law, said it will not comment on its contents pending investigation.

"SPD has been in touch with the family of the victim pedestrian and continues to honor their expressed request for privacy. As others in the accountability system proceed with their work, we again extend our deepest sympathy for this tragic collision," SPD said.

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