Seattle cop who laughed at woman’s death now facing disciplinary action
By Carl Samson
January 26, 2024
The Seattle cop who made controversial comments after an Indian graduate student was fatally struck by another officer last year is facing disciplinary action, the city’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) announced on Tuesday.
Catch up: Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, was killed after Officer Kevin Dave struck her with a speeding police cruiser on Jan. 23, 2023. Officer Daniel Auderer, who was assigned to assess whether Dave was under the influence, was recorded laughing and making callous remarks while speaking to Officer Mike Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG).
Auderer, who serves as the guild’s vice president, referred to Kandula as a “regular person” with “limited value” and proposed that the city “just write a check” for $11,000. He was put on leave before being reassigned to a “non-operational” post in September.
What he said: In his defense, Auderer reportedly claimed that he was only trying to mimic what city lawyers negotiating the case would say. In a statement to the OPA, the officer explained that he was “being sarcastic to express that they shouldn’t be coming up with crazy arguments to minimize the payment.”
“I intended the comment as a mockery of lawyers,” Auderer wrote, according to KTTH. “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.”
What the OPA is saying: The OPA, which initiated an investigation after the recording surfaced, concluded Tuesday that Auderer’s comments violated Seattle Police Department policies against derogatory language and “behavior that undermines public trust.” The watchdog also made recommendations to the department, though they were not disclosed.
OPA Director Gino Betts Jr. described Auderer’s remarks as “derogatory, disturbing and inhumane.” He added that for many, “it confirmed, fairly or not, beliefs that some officers devalue and conceal disparaging views about community members.”
What’s next: Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz will decide on potential disciplinary measures — including termination — for Auderer after considering the OPA’s recommendations. Meanwhile, a criminal investigation involving Officer Dave is still pending, with results expected in the coming weeks.
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