Following body camera footage released this week showing Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer saying the life of a woman who was killed by another officer “had limited value,” the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG ) said Friday there were “much more detail and nuance.” ” to the images while understanding that “the audio is horrible”.
In a statement posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, SPOG, the largest police union in the North West, wrote: he understands the outrage over the viral video which captured the very insensitive comments made by Auderer regarding the death of Jaahnavi Kandula.
In body camera footage released Monday by the Seattle Police Department, Auderer, who is the vice president of SPOG, is shown laughing after a marked patrol vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave struck and killed Kandula in a crosswalk on January 23. According to the investigation report, Dave was traveling 74 miles per hour en route to a “priority one call” when he struck 23-year-old Kandula. Auderer was tasked with assessing whether Dave was impaired.
Auderer’s comments about Kandula have since sparked outrage, with some Seattle residents protesting Thursday night to demand justice for Kandula.
The Consulate General of India in San Francisco (CGISF) is one of many that took to social media to express horror over Kandula’s death.
“Recent reports, including in the media, about the manner in which Ms. Jaahnavi Kandula died in a traffic accident in Seattle in January are deeply disturbing. We have addressed this issue forcefully with local authorities in Seattle and the Washington State as well as with senior officials in Washington DC for a thorough investigation and action against those involved in this tragic matter. The Consulate and Embassy will continue to closely monitor this matter with all relevant authorities,” wrote the CGISF on X on Wednesday.
In its statement Friday, SPOG apologized to Kandula’s family and said it remained confident that the civilian-led police accountability system, known as the Office of Police Accountability (OPA), would conduct a thorough and fair investigation.
“Without context, this audio is horrific and has no place in a civil society. It shames the profession of law enforcement, the reputation of all Seattle police officers, and paints Seattle in a terrible light. We feel deep sadness and heartbreak for the family of Jaahnavi Kandula, as this video has re-victimized them in an already tragic situation as they continue to mourn his death. We are truly sorry,” the SPOG statement said.
However, SPOG also noted that the body camera footage only captures Auderer’s side of the conversation, stating: “Some viral videos of police actions shared by the media fail to explain the story/ the complete context. This Seattle police video is an example of this reality. There are many more details and nuances that have not yet been made public.”
SPOG also released a statement that Auderer wrote to OPA Director Gino Betts in August after being informed of the existence of the video. SPOG said the officer wrote the statement “directly from memory and without being able to watch the video.”
In his statement, Auderer said he understood that without context the comment could be interpreted as horrible and rude, but he intended the comment to be “sarcastic.”
“I said something like, ‘She’s 26, what’s the value, whatever.’ “I intended this comment to make fun of the lawyers – I was imitating what a lawyer charged with negotiating the case would say and was being sarcastic in expressing that they shouldn’t come up with crazy arguments to minimize the payout.” -he writes.
News week contacted the Seattle Police Officers Guild for additional comment via email.
Despite SPOG’s statement, backlash against Auderer and Seattle police continues as many believe the context in which the comments were made does not excuse Auderer’s comments or make light of anyone’s death. ‘A.
“There is no context in which this video is not horrific. There is no excuse for any of this,” a user in a message responding to the SPOG statement.
As for Kandula’s family, they previously told NBC News that they “strongly believe that every human life is priceless and should not be belittled, especially during a tragic loss.”