Indian Student’s Death in US: No Charges for Officer in Fatal Crash

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Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old Indian student, tragically lost her life after being hit by a speeding police vehicle in Washington on January 23, 2022. The officer driving, Kevin Dave, was going at 120 kmph when the collision happened. Despite public outcry, a US prosecutor said there wasn’t enough proof to charge Officer Dave.

The incident was captured on police bodycam footage, showing another officer, Daniel Auderer, laughing and making insensitive comments about Kandula’s age and worth. This behavior was condemned by the prosecutor but wasn’t the basis for not charging Officer Dave.

Prosecutors said they couldn’t prove Officer Dave showed “conscious disregard for others’ safety.” This decision follows Washington State law, which needs proof beyond doubt for a case.

Community Response:

The Community Police Commission (CPC) expressed sympathy for Kandula’s family and the Indian American community. They questioned how fast police should go in an emergency and are working on policy changes with Seattle Police.

International Outrage:

Bodycam footage with Auderer’s remarks sparked anger worldwide. Indian-American lawmakers, like Congressman Ro Khanna and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, condemned the behavior. The Consulate General of India in San Francisco demanded a thorough investigation.

Government Assurances:

The US government promised India a fair investigation. Seattle City Mayor Bruce Harrell wrote to the Kandula family, saying Auderer’s comments don’t reflect the city’s feelings.

Despite concerns, Officer Dave won’t face charges for now. This case raises questions about police behavior, emergency response rules, and the need for accountability in such tragic events.