Officer Who Struck And Killed Graduate Student Will Not Face Felony

A Seattle police officer who struck and killed a graduate student from India while responding to a call last January will not face criminal charges. Instead, Officer Kevin Dave will receive a traffic infraction.

“There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ofc. Dave was consciously disregarding safety,” the prosecutor’s office wrote in a report.

“Even if prosecutors could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a uniformed police officer traveling at 74 mph in response to a legitimate emergency call in a fully marked patrol car with lights and sirens was negligent, negligent driving does not meet the legal threshold for felony criminal charges under Washington State law,” the report stated.

According to the report, Dave was driving 74 mph on a 25 mph street with his lights activated but no sirens while on his way to a call involving an overdose on Jan. 23, 2023, when he struck 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula as she was crossing the street.

According to the city attorney, Dave now faces a fine of up to $5,000 for the infraction of second-degree negligent driving.

The incident attracted worldwide attention after one of the officers on the scene was caught making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the victim.

Daniel Auderer, the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, responded to the scene and called guild President Mike Solan to report what happened. However, Auderer left his body camera on, which recorded disturbing comments that he made about the victim, suggesting that the city write a check.

“Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway,” he said, misstating Kandula’s age. “She had limited value.”

Local protestors and Indian diplomats demanded that an investigation take place.

While Auderer admitted that his comments sounded appalling, he claimed that they were taken out of context. He said that they were intended to poke fun at the legal system that would attempt to put a price on Kandula’s life.

Kandula came to Seattle in 2021 to one day help support her mother back in India. She attended the Seattle campus of Northeastern University to obtain a master’s degree in information systems. She would have graduated this December.