Fact Check: Did Cop Who Killed Jaahnavi Kandula Laugh at Her Death on Film?

Video footage published online this week showed a Seattle police officer laughing as he discussed the death of 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula, who was killed after she was hit by a police cruiser in January.

The clip, which has been widely shared on social media, also showed the officer in the vehicle saying that the victim "had limited value anyway."

According to one social media post, the officer who hit Kandula with his vehicle was also the same person in the now-viral video.

A still from the police bodycam footage
A still from the police bodycam footage. The officer appeared to call the collision victim a person of "limited value." SPD

The Claim

A post on X (formerly Twitter) by user @JoshuaPHilll, viewed 2.9 million times, stated: "This Seattle cop was going 40mph over the speed limit when he hit and killed a woman crossing the street.

"Then he called in and dismissed his killing by saying she was just a regular person.

"He says, 'Just write a check.'

The tweet included a news report about the incident.

The Facts

The video, originally recorded on January 24, was shared by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) on Monday and showed an officer appearing to casually talk about Kandula.

Speaking to someone over the police radio, who could not be heard, the officer at the center of the allegations, said: "Initially he [the officer] said she was in a crosswalk. There's a witness who says, 'No, she wasn't.'

"But that witness could be different because I don't think she was thrown 40 feet either. I think she went up on the hood, hit the windshield and, when he hit the brakes, flew off the car. But she is dead."

At this point in the video, the officer could be heard laughing while continuing to speak to the other person over the police radio.

The clip continued: "No, it's a regular person. Yeah. Yeah, just write a check. Yeah just [audible laughter] $11,000, she was 26 anyway. She had limited value."

However, the person in the video is not the same officer who hit Kandula. The officer in the video has been identified as Daniel Auderer, vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, according to a report by The Seattle Times.

Auderer was said to have turned on his body-worn camera to contact the guild president, Mike Solan, to report what happened.

The original clip released by the Seattle Police Department does not include many details about the officer, only stating "Auderer Body Cam Release."

Kandula died after she was struck by a police cruiser on January 23, 2023. A police report stated that Officer Kevin Dave hit her driving the vehicle, said The Seattle Times.

Auderer is said to have responded to the incident to evaluate whether Dave was impaired, contacting Solan afterward.

While the post on X includes a video that accurately describes the chain of events, the accompanying explanation gets the facts about the incident wrong.

Newsweek has contacted the SPD and Seattle Police Officers Guild.

The Ruling



The man in the video is not the same officer who hit Jaahnavi Kandula. The officer, who was has been identified in reports as Daniel Auderer, turned on his body cam after responding to the incident. Kandula died after she was hit by a car driven by Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave in January 2023.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek's Fact Check team

False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false. Read more about our ratings.

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