KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION
Gee & Ursula: Naming officer in pedestrian death was appropriate
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin, hosts of The Gee and Ursula Show, agreed that releasing the name of the police officer involved in the deadly pedestrian crash in downtown Seattle was appropriate.
“He is officer Kevin Dave,” Ursula said. “He’s been with the department since November 2019. He is a certified EMT.”
In a video released Monday night, SPD Chief Adrian Diaz said the officer was responding to a call last week when he drove through the intersection of Dexter and Thomas and hit 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula, who was on the crosswalk.
He reportedly had his emergency lights on and was clearing intersections with this siren, as is protocol. A drug recognition expert responded to the collision scene and found no evidence of impairment in the officer.
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“I just want to make sure that it’s not just me,” said Gee. “Do you believe that there should be a difference in the release of a name because that person is a police officer?”
“No. Sometimes you don’t release the name of the victim right away because the relatives of the victim haven’t been informed,” Ursula responded. But there was no reason to withhold this officer’s name that really I could see.”
A memorial for Kandula sits at the intersection of Dexter and Thomas in Seattle’s South Lake Union.
“We are treating this investigation as we would any other fatal collision investigation,” Diaz said. “The report will be provided to the King County prosecutor’s office, who will make any decision regarding charging.”
The report, authored by the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, will be given to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, which will make any ensuing charging decisions.
The Office of Police Accountability also opened an investigation into whether the officer complied with policy.
“I think this is a very tragic and unfortunate thing that someone lost her life. She’s an innocent woman, young [and] lost her life,” Gee said. “I didn’t think any wrongdoing. I didn’t think any sketchiness.”
“The family of the victim has a lot of questions,” Ursula said. “Mayor Bruce Harrell has come out, and others have come up. The other thing that is important to note is that this particular intersection is where some safety improvements were going to be made. But then they got put on hold for budgetary reasons. All of this spells out to me that the city is going to be on the hook for a ton of money.”
According to Seattle police, Kandula was a graduate student at Northeastern University and was on pace to graduate this December.
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.