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Seattle police officer Kevin Dave escapes charges in Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula's death

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- February 22nd 2024 12:44 PM
Seattle police officer Kevin Dave escapes charges in Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula's death

Seattle police officer Kevin Dave escapes charges in Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula's death

PTC Web Desk: In a heart-wrenching incident, Seattle police officer Kevin Dave, involved in the collision that claimed the life of 23-year-old Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula, will not face criminal charges, as announced by the King County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday. The decision, attributed to a "lack of sufficient evidence," has left many questioning the accountability in the aftermath of the January 23, 2024, tragedy.

Jaahnavi Kandula, a graduate student from Hyderabad studying at Northeastern University in Seattle, lost her life when Officer Kevin Dave's police vehicle struck her while responding to a drug overdose call. The officer was reportedly driving at a speed exceeding 119 kmph, with no continuous use of his siren.


The King County Prosecuting Attorney highlighted their responsibility to review all evidence but expressed their inability to proceed with a criminal case due to insufficient evidence under Washington State law. Attorney Leesa Manion acknowledged the profound impact of Kandula's death, stating, "Kandula’s death is heartbreaking and impacted communities in King County and across the world."

Jaahnavi
Northeastern University, where Kandula was pursuing her studies, expressed condolences and announced the posthumous awarding of her degree to her family.

Despite the decision regarding Officer Dave, the Prosecutor's Office condemned Officer Daniel Auderer's comments, captured on his body-worn video, as "appalling and deeply troubling." Auderer, not directly involved in the collision, made insensitive remarks about Kandula's age and value, prompting criticism from Attorney Manion for being unprofessional and undermining public trust in the Seattle Police Department.

While Auderer's comments raised concerns, they did not alter the legal analysis of Officer Dave's conduct, according to the Prosecutor's Office. They clarified that the responsibility for disciplinary proceedings related to Auderer's comments falls under the Office of Police Accountability, distinct from the Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

The tragic incident sparked discussions on Officer Dave's response speed and the nature of the call. Reports suggest that the officer was responding to a "priority one" call from the Seattle Fire Department, with speed playing a significant role in the collision. However, Officer Dave did not have his siren continuously activated, opting for a "chirp" at the intersection, while his emergency lights were reportedly on, according to the Seattle Police Department.

Northeastern University, where Kandula was pursuing her studies, expressed condolences and announced the posthumous awarding of her degree to her family. The case has prompted wider discussions on police procedures, response protocols, and the accountability of law enforcement agencies in tragic incidents, sparking a broader conversation about public safety and trust in the justice system.

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