US cop who ran over Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula to not face criminal charges

Seattle police officer Kevin Dave will not face criminal charges for the death of Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula, as authorities cited lack of sufficient evidence.
US cop who ran over Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula to not face criminal charges
Anjali raj / Jaano Junction

The Seattle police officer who struck and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, an Indian student from Hyderabad, while responding to an overdose call, will not face any criminal charges due to a "lack of sufficient evidence." The King County Prosecutor's Office decided on Wednesday not to move forward with the case against the officer Kevin Dave.

"It is the responsibility of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to review all available evidence relating to the case involving Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave and the January 2023 collision death of Jaahnavi Kandula. 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," the King County Prosecuting Attorney said in a statement.

Attorney Leesa Manion, however, noted, "Kandula’s death is heartbreaking and impacted communities in King County and across the world."

In a memo to Seattle police, prosecutors wrote there was not enough evidence to prove Dave showed "conscious disregard for others' safety."

The 23-year-old Indian student, Kandula, died after she was struck by a police vehicle driven by officer Dave when she was crossing a street in Seattle on January 23, 2024. The officer was driving more than 119 kmph speed as he was responding to a drug overdose call. Kandula was thrown 100 feet when she was struck by the speeding police patrol vehicle.

The attorney's office, however, noted that the comments made by Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer, recorded on his body-worn video, were "appalling and deeply troubling."

The officer Auderer, who was not involved in the January collision, was captured in the video saying, "But she is dead" and laughing while on the phone. He continued, "She was 26 anyway. She had limited value."

Attorny Manion said, "Officer Auderer’s comments were also unprofessional and undermined the public’s trust in the Seattle Police Department and law enforcement in general."

The officials stated that the bodycam footage did not imply that Dave might have been at fault or that a criminal investigation was necessary.

"As egregious as Officer Auderer’s comments are, they do not change the PAO’s legal analysis into the conduct of Officer Dave. It is the Office of Police Accountability that bears the responsibility of disciplinary investigation and proceedings relating to Officer Auderer’s comment, not the PAO," news agency PTI quoted in the statement.

As per local media reports, speed was the cause of the collision. Dave was responding to a "priority one" call at the request of the Seattle Fire Department, according to the Seattle Police Department.

The officer did not have his siren activated continuously. Instead, the officer "chirped" his siren at the intersection. He did have his emergency lights on, according to a previous statement from the police department.

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US cop who ran over Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula to not face criminal charges

Kandula was a graduate student at Northeastern University at the Seattle campus. The university said in January 2023 that they would award her degree posthumously and present it to her family.

Source: ANI

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