Seattle Cop Heard Laughing, Joking After Woman Is Killed by Another Police Cruiser

Bodycam footage shows the officer saying the victim had "limited value" and they could "just write a check" following her death — but the officer reportedly said his comments were meant as "a mockery of lawyers" and weren't "made with malice."

The Seattle Police Department is being investigated by a city watchdog group after one of its officers was heard on bodycam footage laughing and cracking jokes after responding to the death of a young woman who was struck and killed by another cruiser back in January.

The video was released publicly by the police department on Monday, showing the conversation between officer Daniel Auderer — who’s also VP of the Seattle Police Officers Guild — speaking with guild President Mike Solan after being called to the scene where fellow officer Kevin Dave struck 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula in a crosswalk. Kandula later died of her injuries at the hospital that evening.

Auderer was reportedly sent to the scene to evaluate whether Dave was impaired at the time of the crash. The officer was going 74mph in a 25mph zone, en route to a call about an overdose, when he hit Kandula.

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After making his assessment, Auderer called Solan, with his body camera picking up only his side of the conversation.

“She is dead,” he said, before appearing to laugh at something Solan said on the other end. “No, it’s a regular person,” added Auderer, before reacting to another unheard comment from Solan by saying, “Just write a check. $11,000, she was 26 anyway, she had limited value.”

He continued to laugh throughout his comments.

According to the Seattle PD, the video was “identified in the routine course of business by a department employee, who, concerned about the nature of statements heard on that video, appropriately escalated their concerns through their chain of command to the Chief’s Office which, following a review of the video, referred the matter to OPA for investigation into the context in which those statements were made and any policy violation that might be implicated.”

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OPA is the city’s Office of Police Accountability, which opened an investigation into the incident. Per USA Today, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is also conducting a criminal review.

“SPD has been in touch with the family of the victim pedestrian and continues to honor their expressed request for privacy,” added the police department. “As others in the accountability system proceed with their work, we again extend our deepest sympathy for this tragic collision.”

The victim’s family released a statement to Fox 13, saying it was “truly disturbing and saddening to hear comments on the bodycam video regarding Jaahnavi’s death from an SPD officer.” They continued, adding, “Jaahnavi is a beloved daughter and beyond any dollar value for her mother & family. We firmly believe that every human life is invaluable and should not be belittled, especially during a tragic loss.”

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Auderer, however, said his comments were “not made with malice or a hard heart” — this according to a written statement he reportedly made to OPA, via conservative radio talk host Jason Rantz.

“During that phone call Mike Solan stated something to the effect that it was unfortunate that this would turn into lawyers arguing ‘the value of human life,'” he wrote. “Mike Solan asked me as he was lamenting the loss of life similar to: ‘What crazy argument can a lawyer make in something like this? What crazy thing can they come up with?'”

“I responded with something like: ‘She’s 26 years old. What value is there? Who cares?’ I intended the comment as a mockery of lawyers. I was imitating what a lawyer tasked with negotiating the case would be saying and being sarcastic to express that they shouldn’t be coming up with crazy arguments to minimize the payment,” he continued. “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.”

Auderer also allegedly admitted that the footage would lead anyone to “rightfully believe I was being insensitive to the loss of human life” — but insisted his comment “was not made with malice or a hard heart.”

Rantz also claimed Auderer — realizing their conversation was recorded after “his body camera inadvertently turned on” and knowing it would “sound bad” — self-reported his comments to OPA. Speaking with The Seattle Times, OPA Director Gino Betts Jr. said the investigation into the incident began after an attorney for the police department emailed them in August.

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