The Seattle police officer who laughed about a young grad student’s death, callously joking that her life had “limited value” after his colleague fatally struck her in his cruiser, has been benched from active patrol.
Officer Daniel Auderer “has been administratively reassigned to a non-operational position,” the Seattle Police Department confirmed to the Seattle Times Thursday.
It’s unclear exactly when Auderer was reassigned to desk duties, but one week ago a police watchdog group demanded Seattle police suspend him without pay.
The traffic cop, who is also vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, has been under investigation by the department after an employee uncovered a bodycam clip in which he makes stomach-turning remarks about 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula.
The grad student from India was crossing the street on Jan. 23 when she was struck and killed by a police vehicle rushing to the scene of a reported overdose.
The officer behind the wheel, Kevin Dave, had been driving 74 mph in a 25 mph-zone with the cop cruiser’s lights flashing when he hit Kandula — throwing her 138 feet.
Auderer was called to the scene of the crash to determine if Dave had been impaired.
He got on the phone with the Seattle Police Officers Guild president Mike Solan in his cop cruiser and forgot to shut off his body-worn camera, which captured just one side of their conversation.
“But she is dead,” Auderer can be heard telling Solan on the phone then laughing at something he said back. “No, it’s a regular person.”
“Yeah, just write a check,” Auderer said after listening to Solan while laughing. “$11,000. She was 26 anyway. She had limited value.”
He misstated Kandula’s age and also claimed Dave had been driving 50 miles per hour.
The short clip only recorded what Auderer said. It does not include Solan’s remarks over the phone.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild claimed the conversation was taken out of context and that Auderer and Solan were only mocking how the city’s lawyers would approach the case in an attempt to minimize liability.
Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability launched an investigation into the troubling comments on Aug. 2 after a police department staffer reviewing footage of the crash that took Kandula’s life found it and flagged it to a police department lawyer.
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