FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2023
The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild understands the attention and outrage surrounding the viral video which captures highly insensitive comments regarding the death of Jaahnavi Kandula by Officer Dan Auderer. Without context, this audio is horrifying and has no place in a civil society. It sullens the profession of law enforcement, the reputation of all Seattle Police officers and paints Seattle in a terrible light. We feel deep sorrow and grief for the family of Jaahnavi Kandula as this video has revictimized them in an already tragic situation as they continue to mourn her death. We are truly sorry.
Some viral videos of police actions shared by media, fail to explain the full story/context. This Seattle Police video is an example of that reality. The video captures only one side of the conversation. There is much more detail and nuance that has not been made public yet… SPOG has full confidence that the civilian led police accountability system known as the Office of Police Accountability / OPA will conduct a thorough and fair investigation.
Furthermore, SPOG wants our community to know the actions that Dan took to hold himself accountable. Upon being made aware of the existence of this video, Dan immediately took ownership of his actions and authored a statement requesting that the Director of OPA (Gino Betts) consider the course of “Rapid Adjudication”. Rapid Adjudication is a disciplinary process that was agreed to by the City of Seattle and the SPOG to expedite police employee misconduct investigations so accountability can be swiftly addressed, and reasonable discipline imposed. This was done by Dan more than 4 weeks before the release of the video.
There is no doubt that any loss of life is tragic. We as police officers swear an oath of service that mandates that we do our best to protect and preserve life at all costs, even if we were to lose our own lives in the performance of our duties. With that understood, we also know that in our service to others, tragedy can strike at any moment. This was unfortunately the case in the tragic death of Jaahnavi Kandula.
For clarity, we have included Dan’s statement to Director Betts below. Dan authored this statement directly from memory and without the ability to watch the video. This vital contextual information has not been included in most of the media coverage.
Seattle Police Officers Guild
Officer Daniel Auderer’s Statement to the Office of Police Accountability
DATE: August 8, 2023
Officer Daniel Auderer
Seattle Police Department
Office of Police Accountability
Dear Director Betts,
On January 23, 2023 I was dispatched from home to assist with a fatality collision involving a city vehicle. I am typically dispatched to most of the cities major injury collisions and fatalities. My duty during these incidents is to investigate the drivers of vehicles for signs of impairment that would make them unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. While enroute I was notified that a young adult female was severely injured after being hit by an SPD Patrol car. Before arriving I was notified that the female had passed. I received no other information (which is not uncommon). I did not respond to the scene which is common in most incidents. I will contact drivers blocks from the scene or in the hospital. I responded to the location of the involved driver (West Precinct). After completing my investigation I left the Precinct.
While enroute home I called Mike Solan to give him an update regarding what had occurred. The phone call was inadvertently recorded on my BWV which had turned on. The conversation took place in my patrol car. I was the only occupant. During that phone call Mike Solan stated something to the effect that it was unfortunate that this would turn into lawyers arguing ‘The value of human life.’ Mike Solan asked me as he was lamenting the loss of life something similar to: ‘ What crazy argument can a lawyer make in something like this? What crazy thing can they come up with.’ I responded with something like: ‘She’s 26 years old, what value is there, who cares.’ I intended the comment as a mockery of lawyers – I was imitating what a lawyer tasked with negotiating the case would be saying and being sarcastic to express that they shouldn’t be coming up with crazy arguments to minimize the payment. I laughed at the ridiculousness of how these incidents are litigated and the ridiculousness of how I have watched these incidents play out as two parties bargain over a tragedy. At the time I believed the conversation was private and not being recorded. The conversation was also not within the course of my duties.
I understand that without context the comment could be interpreted as horrifying and crude. Without context the comment is insensitive to the family of the victim when in reality I was involved in a conversation regarding the callousness of the legal system. At the time I had no idea who the victim was. All I knew was the persons approximate age and sex. That being said I do understand that one side of the conversation was recorded on my BWV. I do understand that if a citizen were to hear it that they would rightfully believe I was being insensitive to the loss of a human life. I also understand that if heard it could diminish the trust in the Seattle Police Department and make all of our jobs more difficult. With all of that being said the comment was not made with malice or a hard heart, quite the opposite. My intent in requesting rapid adjudication is to be as transparent as possible. I am willing to accept any reasonable discipline our accountability partners and the Chief of Police wish to hand down.
Daniel Auderer #7499