Seattle Officer Daniel Auderer off patrol duty after laughing about death of woman fatally hit by police SUV

Seattle Officer Daniel Auderer off patrol duty after laughing about death of woman fatally hit by police SUV

[ad_1]

A Seattle police officer and union leader under investigation for laughing and making callous remarks about the death of a woman from India who was struck by a police SUV has been taken off patrol duty, police said.

The Seattle Police Department confirmed Thursday that traffic Officer Daniel Auderer “has been administratively reassigned to a non-operational position,” The Seattle Times reported. The reassignment comes a week after one police watchdog group called for Auderer to be suspended without pay. It wasn’t immediately clear when Auderer was taken off traffic duty and reassigned.

Auderer, who is vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, has been under investigation since a recording from his body camera was released that depicts him laughing and joking during a phone call with union President Mike Solan. The call happened in the hours after another officer, Kevin Dave, in his police SUV struck and killed 23-year-old student Jaahnavi Kandula as she was crossing a street on Jan. 23.

seattle-pd.jpg
A body-worn camera captured one Seattle Police Department union leader joking with another following the death of a woman who was struck and killed by a police cruiser as she was crossing a street.

KIRO-TV


Dave had been driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone on as he headed to a drug overdose call. He started braking less than a second before hitting Kandula, according to a detective’s report. The report said Dave was driving 63 mph when he hit the woman and that his speed didn’t allow Kandula or Dave sufficient time to “detect, address and avoid a hazard that presented itself.”

The SUV’s emergency lights had been activated, and Dave had “chirped” his siren at other intersections and used it immediately before the collision, the report said, adding Kandula was thrown 138 feet.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal review of the crash.

Auderer left his body camera on during his call to Solan after leaving the crash scene, where he had been called to determine whether Dave was impaired.

In the recording released by the police department only Auderer can be heard speaking. He underplays the crash, inaccurately saying Dave was driving 50 mph at the time. Then he can be heard laughing and calling Kandula a “regular person.” He also suggests Kandula’s life had “limited value” and the city should just write a check for $11,000.


Auderer Body Cam Release by
Seattle Police Department on
YouTube

Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability began an investigation Aug. 2 after a police department employee who was reviewing the body camera video for the crash investigation reported it to a police department lawyer.

Auderer’s comments have been condemned locally and internationally. Police Chief Adrian Diaz has said he’s met with representatives of the Indian and Asian communities about it.

The Seattle Police Officers Guild in a statement has said the recorded conversation has been taken out of context and that the two men were mocking how the city’s lawyers might try to minimize liability for Kandula’s death.

Earlier this month, a conservative talk radio host on KTTH-AM, Jason Rantz, reported that he had obtained a written statement Auderer provided to the city’s Office of Police Accountability. In it, Auderer said that Solan had lamented the death and that his own comments were intended to mimic how the city’s attorneys might try to minimize liability for it.

“I intended the comment as a mockery of lawyers,” Auderer wrote, according to KTTH. “I laughed at the ridiculousness of how these incidents are litigated and the ridiculousness of how I watched these incidents play out as two parties bargain over a tragedy.”

The station reported that Auderer acknowledged in the statement that anyone listening to his side of the conversation alone “would rightfully believe I was being insensitive to the loss of human life.” The comment was “not made with malice or a hard heart,” he said, but “quite the opposite.”

Members from both the Community Police Commission and the African American Advisory Council said hearing Auderer laugh about Kandula’s death reinforces a message to the people of Seattle that the department as a whole allows that type of behavior, KIRO-TV reported.

“This just taints it. Not only for Seattle officers but for every officer in our country. That shows you their culture. That some of us are valued and some aren’t. Some lives are valued and some aren’t and it doesn’t look good,” said Victoria Beach, chair of the African-American Community Advisory Council for the Seattle Police Department.

Beach has worked alongside Seattle Police for the last five years to improve race relations between Seattle Police and the community. She told KIRO-TV that the footage makes her stomach turn.

“I’m just feeling angry and saddened for the family. Could you imagine that being your loved one that they’re mocking,” she said.

[ad_2]

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *