A Seattle police oversight group has recommended that Daniel Auderer, the officer who was heard laughing and making insensitive remarks about an Indian woman’s death, be put on unpaid leave, according to reports.
Driving the news: Auderer, who serves as vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), is currently under investigation by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for his controversial comments about Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old graduate student who was fatally struck by a speeding police car in January. While responding to the incident, he was reportedly heard in his bodycam footage laughing and making callous statements such as “she had limited value” and “just write a check.”
What the watchdog is saying: The Community Police Commission (CPC), an independent 15-member commission overseeing Seattle Police Department (SPD) practices, recommended to Police Chief Adrian Diaz that Auderer be placed on indefinite unpaid leave, according to The Seattle Times. Describing his comments as “horrifying,” the group raised concerns about Auderer’s abilities to interact with the community, investigate cases and keep residents safe.
The CPC was established under a federal consent decree, NBC News noted. In their letter to Diaz, the commission also called for a workgroup involving themself, the OPA and the Office of Inspector General to address concerns about the culture of policing and practices within the SPD.
What the police are saying: Reports say the SPD declined to comment on the CPC’s recommendations but referred to an earlier statement about the bodycam footage.
On the other hand, the SPOG previously stated that Auderer’s statements were taken out of context, claiming that the video “captures only one side of the conversation” and that there is “much more detail and nuance that has not been made public yet.”
Auderer previously told the OPA that his comments were trying to mimic what a lawyer negotiating the case would say, according to KTTH. The officer reportedly said: “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.”