India has called upon the United States to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into bodycam footage showing a Seattle police officer making jests about the tragic demise of an Indian student who was struck by a speeding police car.
The victim, 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula, lost her life in January when Officer Kevin Dave, driving at nearly 120 kmph while responding to a reported overdose, struck her. Kandula was pursuing a master's degree at Northeastern University's Seattle campus.
India has called for a comprehensive investigation into an incident where a Seattle police officer was caught making insensitive remarks about the tragic death of an Indian student, Jaahnavi Kandula.
Kandula, aged 23 and a master's student at Northeastern University's Seattle campus, lost her life in January after being struck by a speeding police car driven by Officer Kevin Dave, who was responding to an overdose report at nearly 120 kmph, as reported by the Seattle Times newspaper.
In recently released bodycam footage from the Seattle Police Department, another officer can be heard joking and laughing while discussing the accident.
In the video, Seattle Police Officers' Guild Vice President Daniel Auderer, during a conversation with the guild's president, callously remarked, 'She is dead,' followed by laughter, and referred to Ms. Kandula as 'a regular person.' He callously added, 'Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars.' The clip concluded with him inaccurately stating her age as 26 and callously saying, 'She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.'
In a unanimous resolution, the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) has called upon relevant authorities to prioritize a thorough investigation, community engagement, and the respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals, including the victims and the affected community.
The NFIA has also expressed appreciation for India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, for raising this issue at the highest levels in Washington.
Indian American Impact, in a statement, expressed shock at the disturbing footage showing a Seattle police officer belittling the tragic death of an Indian woman at the hands of another police officer, stating that her life 'had limited value.' They have called for accountability for the officer involved and justice for Jaahnavi Kandula's family, saying, 'We hope the officer is held accountable, and Jaahnavi Kandula's family receives justice.'
Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal strongly condemned the incident, stating, 'Jaahnavi Kandula was killed by a speeding police car. Then, police officers joked about her death and devalued her life. I'm sick to my stomach. This is exactly what happens when we normalize xenophobia and racism. It needs to stop.'
According to Axios, public outrage is growing after a Seattle police officer was caught on camera laughing and remarking that a pedestrian struck and killed by another officer in January had 'limited value.
A coalition, which includes family members of individuals killed by police, released statements on Wednesday expressing their objections to Officer Daniel Auderer's comments. Annalisa Thomas, whose son was killed by Lakewood police in 2013, emphasized that it is no laughing matter when police officers reveal contempt for the people they are sworn to protect.