Jaahnavi Kandula death: ‘Appalling’, says Priyanka Chopra; US mayor, top cop apologise

Seattle Office of Police Accountability has opened an investigation into the incident

Jaahnavi-kandula-death-priyanka-chopra-reacts (L) Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula, (R) Actor Priyanka Chopra | PTI/ Reuters

Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula’s death has paved way for protests across Seattle demanding action against the police officers responsible for her death. Over 100 members of the South Asian community held a rally on the site where the accident took place. 

The bodycam footage released by the Seattle Police Department revealed officer Daniel Auderer mocking the Indian student’s death while having a conversation with Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president Mike Solan.

Auderer in his defence said that his comments were “taken out of context”.

Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrel apologised to the Indian community for the insensitive comments made by Auderer.

"Members of the Indian community have come together because of the unfortunate and insensitive remarks I believe were made. We are making sure that our apology as city officials is felt to your community and family, my condolences for your loss," he said.

Also, Seattle police chief Adrian Diaz offered condolences and said that we will ensure that it never ever occurs. "We value human life," he said.

Indian actors reacts to her death

Taking to Instagram Stories, actor Priyanka Chopra reacted to Kandula's death. "It's appalling to learn that such a tragic incident that happened nine months ago is only coming to light now. A life is a life. One cannot put any value on it,” she wrote.

Among other actors, actor-director Farhan Akhtar also condoled the student's death on Instagram. "#JaahnaviKandula. We didn't know each other but I know that as a student preparing to make a place for herself in the world, your potential was limitless and your value immeasurable. Condolences to your family. RIP," he wrote.

Kandula, 23, was struck by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave when she was crossing a street on January 23. Reportedly, he was driving 74 mph on the way to a report of a drug overdose call.

Auderer was heard laughing in the footage that was released by the police. He was heard saying, "Yeah, just write a check. USD 11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value."

In a letter addressed to Gino Betts, director Office of Police Accountability, Auderer said he was under the impression of the conversation being private. He stated that he was giving an update to Solan while he was in his patrol car and the talks took turn to the lawyers arguing "The value of human life".

Seattle Police also defended its official saying that the video reveals only one side of the conversation. "The video captures only one side of the conversation. There is much more detail and nuance that has not been made public yet...SPOG has full confidence that the civilian led police accountability system known as the Office of Police Accountability / OPA will conduct a thorough and fair investigation," Guild’s statement read.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Office of Police Accountability said that it has opened an investigation into the incident.

Saddened by Kandula's death, Kenneth W. Henderson, Chancellor of Northeastern University announced that the university plans to award Jaannavi her degree posthumously and present it to her family. 

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