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Prosecutor Says Seattle Officer Won’t Face Felony Charges for Fatally Hitting Woman in 2023

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Prosecutor Says Seattle Officer Won’t Face Felony Charges for Fatally Hitting Woman in 2023
Source: Hindustantimes

King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion has declined to file felony charges against a Seattle police officer who fatally hit a young woman with his car earlier this year. While Officer Kevin Dave was responding to a call, he hit Jaahnavi Kandula with his police cruiser. 

Sadly, she did not survive the incident. She died later that evening, on January 23. After her death, there was an uproar with protests against Officer Dave. However, the Washington prosecutor has declined to charge him for the death. 

“Our legal analysis reveals that the PAO (Prosecuting Attorney’s Office) lacks sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Kevin Dave was impaired by drugs or alcohol, driving in a reckless manner, or driving with disregard for the safety of others,” Manion shared in a statement.

In a separate memo, Manion described the details of the accident. She said that Dave was responding to a request for help for a man overdosing when he struck Kandula. He also slowed down when he was approaching intersections and used his sirens to alert pedestrians and drivers before entering. 

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However, the intersection where he struck Kandula was a 25mph zone. He was going at 63mph when he hit her while she was crossing. He tried breaking at the same time, but it was too late. 

The impact was high, and it threw her more than 100 feet. According to several witnesses, they heard Dave’s sirens and saw his lights. Therefore, nobody knows why Kandula did not hear or see them and stop before crossing.  

They rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she died that evening. She was only 23 years old. After she died, the Seattle Police Department referred the case to the city attorney’s office. 

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They were to review charges for “operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner – vulnerable user victim,” which is a misdemeanor. The office, therefore, assigned an officer to evaluate Dave’s status at that time to know if he was impaired in any way. 

However, Officer Daniel Auderer did more harm than good regarding the case. He left his body camera on when he spoke to police union President Mike Solan, making comments about the victim’s death. 

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The Seattle Police Department released the footage, and one can hear his comments but not Solan’s responses. “It does not seem like there’s a criminal investigation going on,” he said. He also mentioned that Dave was not driving recklessly and cast doubt about how far Kandula was thrown when he hit her. 

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He told Solan that she died and then laughed, adding, “No, it’s a regular person.” Auderer also suggested that the city should just write her family a check for “$11,000” as “she had limited value.”

Without a doubt, her family was hurt by these comments and called for the police department to sack both Dave and Auderer. While the prosecutor’s office reassigned Auderer, they also let Dave go without any charges to his name. He is still on active duty, as their report claims he did not commit a crime. 

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