KCPAO decision to not file criminal charges in Kandula case sparks Seattle protests

SEATTLE — Several dozen protestors gathered outside Seattle Police’s West Precinct Friday evening to voice disdain over the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s (KCPAO) decision to not file criminal charges against officer Kevin Dave, the man behind the wheel of the SPD cruiser that struck and killed Jahnavi Kandula in January of 2023.

Raymond Mitchell with Seattle Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the group that organized the protest, said the prosecutor’s office failed to do its job in bringing justice for Jahnavi.

“We are beyond disappointed,” Mitchell said. “This is unacceptable. You are not doing your jobs.”

Several people spoke during Friday’s protest.

Besides demanding Office Dave be fired, many among the crowd felt criminal charges were necessary in this case.

“Convict Kevin Dave!” protestors chanted. “Convict Kevin Dave!”

Prosecutor Leesa Manion sent out this statement Wednesday moments after their decision:

Ms. Kandula’s death is heartbreaking and impacted communities in King County and across the world.

It is the responsibility of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) 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 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. 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.

Although this wasn’t the result both the Kandula family and protestors wanted, many plan to continue to voice their outrage about the situation and hope change can come soon.

“Because this affects all of us, it can be any of you,” Mitchell said.

Friday’s protest was about Officer Dave mainly, but the other officer at the center of the story is Dan Auderer, the Vice President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild.

Officer Auderer was caught on body camera video making disturbing comments moments after Kandula died. He will also not face any criminal charges but has a disciplinary hearing with Chief Adrian Diaz scheduled for March 4.