Seattle Police’s union reacts to officer’s controversial comments captured on video
Sep 15, 2023, 5:55 PM | Updated: Sep 16, 2023, 10:36 am
The union that represents the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released a statement four days after its vice president was caught making controversial comments about the death of a young woman.
The comments were made in a video that was released by the SPD Monday. In the video, Police Officers Guild Vice President Dan Auderer appears to mock the value of Jaahnavi Kandula’s life. A patrol car Officer Kevin Dave drove hit and killed the 23-year-old graduate student from India Jan. 23.
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The statement included what the Seattle Police Officers Guild identified as a letter Auderer wrote to the director of the Office of Police Accountability.
In the letter, Auderer said he was on the phone with Union President Mike Solan after he arrived at the scene of the crash to assess whether Officer Dave was impaired. Dave was being evaluated after hitting and killing Kandula when she was in a crosswalk.
Auderer said he made the comment inside his patrol car and his body camera video “inadvertently” switched on. He said he and Solan were lamenting about a lawsuit that might result from Kandula’s death.
Auderer claimed Solan asked, “What crazy argument can a lawyer make in something like this?” And he replied, “Yeah, just write a check.” He paused and laughed before saying, “Eleven-thousand dollars. She was 26, anyway. She had limited value.”
In the newly released statement, the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) offered sympathy to the victim.
“We feel deep sorrow and grief for the family of Jaahnavi Kandula as this video has revictimized them,” SPOG wrote. “We are truly sorry.”
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SPOG noted the comments were “horrifying and has no place in a civil society” when taken out of context.
The union also claimed in its letter that “viral videos of police actions shared by media, fail to explain the full story/context.” Between the statement and the letter, the word “context” was used five times.
“The video captures only one side of the conversation,” the letter also reads. “There is much more detail and nuance that has not been made public yet.”
SPOG emphasized Auderer “self-reported” his actions to the Office of Police Accountability, but SPD has not said who originally brought the controversial video to the attention of the department.
“I am willing to accept any reasonable discipline our accountability partners and the chief of police wish to hand down,” Auderer’s letter concluded.
The Office of Police Accountability is investigating the comments made on the body camera video while the King County Prosecutor is reviewing the original patrol car crash.