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Prosecutors won't charge Seattle officer who fatally struck student

Prosecutors say they lacked enough evidence to charge officer Kevin Dave, who ran over 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula while responding to an emergency.
Prosecutors won't charge Seattle officer who fatally struck student
Posted at 8:19 AM, Feb 22, 2024

A prosecutor in Seattle said no charges will be filed against a police officer who ran over and killed a 23-year-old grad student in January 2023. 

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said there is insufficient evidence to charge Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave with a crime. Prosecutors said he was behind the wheel of a police vehicle when he fatally ran over Jaahnavi Kandula.

The incident garnered national attention after body camera footage revealed a disturbing conversation between two other officers. 

In the video, Det. Daniel Auderer is heard discussing the incident on a phone call with a coworker. "She is dead," Auderer said before breaking into laughter. 

"Just write a check," he said while laughing, suggesting the situation over her death can be paid off. Auderer joked about her age, saying "she had low value anyways" and that her life was only worth $11,000.

While neither of the officers was the one who hit the woman, the conversation took place shortly after the incident.

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King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion addressed the comments in her statement announcing that no charges would be filed.

"After staffing this case with senior deputy prosecuting attorneys and office leadership, I have determined that we lack sufficient evidence under Washington State law to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt," she said. "The PAO finds the comments made by Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer, and recorded on his body-worn video, appalling and deeply troubling. Officer Auderer’s comments were also unprofessional and served to undermine the public’s trust in the Seattle Police Department and law enforcement in general. As egregious as Officer Auderer’s comments are, they do not change the PAO’s legal analysis into the conduct of Officer Dave."

Manion's office said in order to prosecute Dave, they would have needed to prove that either he was impaired by drugs or alcohol, driving in a reckless manner, or driving with disregard for the safety of others. 

The Seattle Police department said Auderer was reassigned to a non-operational position after the incident.

In a 31-page report, prosecutors say that Dave was driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone while responding to an emergency incident. Investigators said Kandula had the right of way when crossing a road at an intersection and would have had a difficult time judging Dave's speed when crossing the road. 

Investigators believe Dave's cruiser impacted Kandula at a speed of about 60 mph. 

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