A US police officer has been caught on tape laughing about the tragic death of an Indian student who was hit by a cop car.
Officer Daniel Auderer was the first to respond after his colleague struck down Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, as she crossed a road in Seattle.
Kandula, a master’s student from Northeastern University, died in January this year after sustaining multiple blunt-force injuries.
In newly found bodycam footage, Auderer can be heard saying “she is dead” moments before bursting into laughter.
“It’s a regular person,” he continues, mockingly.
“Just write a cheque. Just, yeah, $11,000. She was 26 anyway. She had limited value.
The officer can be heard laughing several more times, and goes on to defend the speed his colleague, officer Kevin Dave, was driving at.
“He was going 50mph, that’s not reckless for a trained driver,” says officer Auderer.
Although, a report from The Seattle Times revealed that officer Dave was driving at a speed of 74mph, in a 25mph zone. The impact of the collision sent Kandula flying 100ft.
The Seattle Community Police Commission, a community watchdog that provides oversight of Seattle’s police department, has issued a statement calling officer Auderer’s comments “heartbreaking and shockingly insensitive.”
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”The people of Seattle deserve better from a police department that is charged with fostering trust with the community and ensuring public safety.”
A criminal review of the crash is being conducted by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
And an official investigation into the context within which Auderer’s comments were made has now been launched by Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability.
According to the radio host Jason Rantz, his show on KTTH-AM has been able to obtain the written statement that Auderer provided to Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability.
Rantz reported that Auderer claims that the comments “were not made with malice or a heard heart,” and were “quite the opposite.”
“I laughed 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.”
The graduate student had been working so she could support her single mother in India. Now, only her body can be sent back.
Her uncle told The Seattle Times “I wonder if these men’s daughters and granddaughters have value. A life is a life.”