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Seattle Police Officer, Who Joked About Indian Student's Death, Has History Of Racial Violence While On Duty

Amid outrage over the death of an Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula in Seattle, wherein bodycam footage emerged of a police officer joking about her accident, a Seattle-based police watchdog group has alleged that the concerned officer had a history of racial violence while on duty.

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Amid outrage over the death of an Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula in Seattle, wherein bodycam footage emerged of a police officer joking about her accident, a Seattle-based police watchdog group has alleged that the concerned officer had a history of racial violence while on duty.

Kandula, 23, was struck by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave when she was crossing a street on January 23. He was driving 74 mph (more than 119 kmh) on the way to a report of a drug overdose call. In bodycam footage released on Monday by the Seattle Police Department, Officer Daniel Auderer laughed about the deadly crash and dismissed any implication Dave might be at fault or that a criminal investigation was necessary.

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Divest SPD, a Seattle-based police watchdog group, revealed in a series of social media posts, that Daniel Auderer has been the subject of eighteen Office of Public Accountability (OPA) investigations since 2014 and involved in lawsuits costing the city over $1.7 million. In 2010, Auderer and several other officers illegally stopped, harassed and arrested two Mexican immigrants, Divest SPD said.

In 2017, Auderer punched and choked a homeless man inside the ER at Harborview Hospital. He was earlier suspended for four days after conducting an illegal off duty arrest. All of these investigations cost the city over $2,000,000 in lawsuits, Divest SPD said.

In the video, Daniel Auderer, who is captured on body camera while discussing the fatal collision, can be heard saying, "Yeah, just write a check. USD 11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value." The Indian consulate in San Francisco has demanded strong action from the US and urged them to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

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Meanwhile, more than 200 people from different communities held a rally in Seattle demanding justice for the Indian student and resignation of the police officers. Speakers at the rally criticised the police system, saying it is built on white supremacy, and the criminalising and undervaluing of the lives of Black and Indigenous people and other people of colour, the Seattle Times newspaper reported.

The Seattle Police Department has previously been accused of unprovoked violence, especially during the protests after George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police in 2020. 

According to a Washington Post analysis from that year, half of people killed by police are white, but Black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population but are killed by police at over twice the rate of white Americans, the newspaper analysis found.

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