In a show of unity and determination, over 200 individuals representing various communities gathered at the intersection in Seattle where tragedy struck earlier this year. The incident involved 23-year-old Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula, who lost her life after being struck by a speeding police patrol car driven by Officer Kevin Dave, racing to respond to a drug overdose call at a staggering 74 mph, PTI reported.
The rally, held at the very spot of the accident, called for justice for Kandula and the resignation of two Seattle police officers, Officer Dave, and Officer Daniel Auderer. The latter had stirred outrage when bodycam footage revealed him making callous remarks about the tragic crash, casting doubt on the need for a criminal investigation.
Amidst signs that read "Jail killer cops," "Justice for Jaahnavi," and "End police terror," speakers at the rally criticized the broader police system, alleging its foundation in white supremacy, and the disregard for Black, Indigenous, and people of color's lives.
Seattle resident Rafael McPeek, a member of the Seattle Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, emphasized the importance of holding police accountable for their actions and expressed his disgust at the situation. Rallygoer Kyla Carrillo echoed these sentiments, expressing her frustration at the months that have passed without accountability for Kandula's death.
Officer Auderer's shocking remarks during a phone call with Union President Mike Solan further fueled the outrage, where he seemed to dismiss the value of Kandula's life. Governor Jay Inslee expressed his dismay at the comments, emphasizing the need for a culture change within the Seattle Police Department.
Deepali Jamwal, who owns a dance studio near the accident site, shared her haunting experience of hearing Officer Auderer laugh after declaring Kandula's death. She called for unity in the fight for justice for Jaahnavi, stating that Jaahnavi was one of them, and her death hit too close to home.
Despite the widespread outrage and demands for justice, the officer responsible for Kandula's death has yet to face criminal charges. This lack of accountability has left many questioning the effectiveness of a system where those tasked with enforcing the rules appear exempt when they break them.
Jaahnavi Kandula was on the cusp of achieving her dreams, poised to graduate with a master's degree in information systems from Northeastern University's Seattle campus. Her family revealed her dedication to supporting her mother in India, adding an even deeper layer of significance to the pursuit of justice in her case.
Notably, India has taken a keen interest in Kandula's case, engaging with both the U.S. government and local officials in Washington state. The Consulate General of India in San Francisco expressed deep concern over the handling of the case and promised to vigorously pursue a thorough investigation and appropriate actions against those involved.