‘Disturbing, inhumane’: OPA rules on SPD cop who joked about death of 23-year-old

SEATTLE — The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has sustained findings against a Seattle police officer who was caught on camera joking about the death of 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula.

Officer Kevin Dave hit and killed Kandula with his patrol car in January of 2023. Dave was responding to a separate call before hitting Kandula at the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said Dave’s case is being reviewed, you can check the status here.

“When the KCPAO makes a charging decision relating to the collision that has been referred to us involving Officer Kevin Dave and Ms. Kandula, we will share that information with the public,” said the attorney’s office.

In the months that followed, footage was released of Seattle Police Officers Guild Vice President Daniel Auderer talking about the incident on the phone with SPOG President Mike Solan. In that conversation, Auderer can be heard laughing as he referred to Kandula as “a regular person,” going on to say, “just write a check -- $11,000, she was 26 anyway, she had limited value.”

That sparked an investigation from the OPA, which released its findings on Tuesday -- a year to the date since Kandula’s death.

In their findings, OPA Director Gino Betts Jr. called Auderer’s words “derogatory, disturbing, and inhumane.”

“The officer’s comments undermined public trust in the department, himself, and his colleagues,” Betts continued. “For many, it confirmed, fairly or not, beliefs that some officers devalue and conceal disparaging views about community members.”

Now that the OPA has issued sustained findings against Auderer, they will have a meeting on Tuesday with SPD’s chain of command to send recommended disciplinary action to Chief Adrian Diaz.

All OPA investigations can be tracked through the City of Seattle. The case number for Daniel Auderer is 2023OPA-0336.