City officials ‘disgusted’ by SPD bodycam footage, says ‘fix the culture’
Sep 14, 2023, 8:07 AM | Updated: 8:14 am
(Photo: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio)
Seattle city officials continue to react to the release of body camera video of an officer talking and joking on the phone after a woman was struck and killed by a Seattle Police Department (SPD) cruiser in January.
In that video, Seattle Police Officer Daniel Arderer was heard laughing multiple times and making comments about the so-called “value” of the victim, 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula.
The officer claims he was mocking a hypothetical lawsuit over her death.
Seattle City Council member Tammy Morales calls the comments “abhorrent” and wants Police Chief Adrian Diaz to do something right away.
“After every high-profile incident of police abuse, we’re told to wait – wait for a six-month long investigation or a years-long review process,” Morales said. “We’re done waiting. I’m calling on Chief (Adrian) Diaz to tell the Council and community, in real terms, how he plans to regain control of his department and fix the culture.”
In a statement, she went on to say: “As a mother of three, I am disgusted by the comments Daniel Auderer made in the video. To the friends and family of Jaahnavi, I am so sorry that you had to witness your loved one’s memory and worth reduced to joking banter and laughter”.
Morales also called for Officer Auderer to be fired but criticized the contract with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild for making that action impossible for the city.
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Chief Diaz and Seattle’s Mayor have said they refuse to comment about the incident until the investigation is completed. However, Mayor Bruce Harrell did apologize to the victim’s family about the recorded comments.
The mayor’s office sent us a letter they say was sent to Jaahnavi Kandula’s parents, which reads:
Dear Mr. Ashok Mandula and members of the Kandula family,
I am writing to express my deepest condolences to your entire family for the loss of
your beloved Jaahnavi.
As the Mayor of Seattle, I want you to know that our community is heartbroken and mourns alongside your family, friends, and everyone who shared the privilege of knowing Jaahnavi.
While I did not know Jaahnavi personally, I understand that she was a caring, kind, and smart young woman who had a very bright and promising future ahead of her.
I share your grief that her life was tragically cut short.
I want to be clear that the comments made by one person do not reflect the feelings of our city or the communities that call it home.
We recognize that Jaahnavi’s death is a loss for our whole community – the loss of a young woman who had so much life ahead of her to do amazing things and share that joy with loved ones.
Her life had immeasurable value, and any sentiment, shared by one person, that expresses otherwise does not represent the very real feelings of heartbreak that our entire city has over the loss of your child.
My prayers remain with your family at this difficult time.
Mayor Bruce A. Harrell