Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 07:43 IST

Seattle Officer Not Charged for Killing Indian Student Jaahnavi Kandula in US

King County Prosecuting Attorney expressed sympathy for Jaahnavi Kandula's family and acknowledged the impact of her death on communities locally and globally.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
Seattle Officer Not Charged for Killing Indian Student Jaahnavi Kandula in US due to ‘lack of sufficient evidence’ | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The King County Prosecutor's Office announced on Wednesday that Seattle police officer Kevin Dave will not face criminal charges in the tragic collision death of Jaahnavi Kandula, an Indian student from Hyderabad. The decision was made citing a "lack of sufficient evidence" to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. Kandula, a 23-year-old graduate student at Northeastern University's Seattle campus, was fatally struck by Officer Dave's patrol vehicle while crossing a street on January 23. Officer Dave was reportedly responding to a drug overdose call at speeds exceeding 119 km/h, throwing Kandula approximately 100 feet upon impact.

In a statement, the King County Prosecuting Attorney expressed sympathy for Kandula's family and acknowledged the impact of her death on communities locally and globally. Attorney Leesa Manion highlighted the heartbreaking nature of Kandula's passing.

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However, outrage ensued as bodycam footage captured another Seattle police officer, Daniel Auderer, making callous and insensitive remarks about Kandula's death. Officer Auderer was heard saying, "She was 26 anyway. She had limited value," while on the phone, sparking condemnation and eroding public trust in law enforcement.

Despite the disturbing nature of Officer Auderer's comments, the prosecutor's office clarified that they did not impact the legal analysis regarding Officer Dave's conduct. They emphasized that disciplinary proceedings regarding Officer Auderer's remarks fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Police Accountability, separate from criminal investigations.

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Local media reports indicated that speed was a significant factor in the collision, with Officer Dave responding to a "priority one" call without continuous use of his siren. While his emergency lights were activated, the absence of constant siren use raised questions about the circumstances leading to Kandula's tragic death.

Northeastern University announced plans to posthumously award Kandula's degree and present it to her family, honoring her academic achievements despite the untimely loss. 

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 07:43 IST