Jaahnavi Kandula Deserved Better

Seattle police killed an Indian student and laughed about it. Its aftermath has shaken the global South Asian community.

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Jaahnavi Kandula (Twitter)


September 14, 2023


9 min

On January 23, 2023, close to 8:00 p.m., Seattle police officer Kevin Dave said he was distracted by a “priority 1” emergency call when his cruiser struck a pedestrian at the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street at 74 miles per hour, throwing her 138 feet. Paramedics arrived on the scene, transporting 23-year-old graduate student Jaahnavi Kandula to the hospital,  where she died shortly after. She was originally from Andhra Pradesh. 

Only a day later, another police officer would chat about the incident, which body cameras would capture.“She had limited value,” Daniel Auderer remarked, laughing that someone should just write a $11,000 check. The Seattle Police Department did not immediately respond to The Juggernaut’s request for comment.

Though police killed Kandula in January, the bodycam footage wouldn’t come to light until over half a year later, in September. In recent days, as the community expressed its outrage, Kandula’s story raises far more questions than it answers: why did it take so long for us to hear of the incident, how many have we not heard of, and who gets to decide the value of a Brown life?

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