A US Police officer has sparked outrage after he was allegedly caught laughing and joking after a woman had died from being hit by a police car.
As per CNN, Seattle police officer Daniel Auderer is under investigation after his body cam reportedly captured him laughing and saying a woman had “limited value” after she was hit and killed by a patrol car.
According to police documents obtained by the publication, 23-year-old Indian exchange student Jaahnavi Kandula was hit and killed at a pedestrian crossing on January 23. Auderer was called to the scene to see if the officer involved was impaired as he was a trained “drug recognition expert”.
The officer’s body camera recorded a phone call in which Auderer discussed the details of the incident.
In the footage, which was released to the public on Monday, Auderer can be heard describing what he thinks happened to Kandula and confirming her death.
He then goes on to laugh in response to the person on the other line and says, “No, it’s a regular person.”
Moments after he made the “regular person” comment, Auderer goes on to tell the person on the other line to “just write a check”.
“$11,000. She was 26 anyways. She had limited value,” he allegedly continued before the video ended.
In a statement from the Seattle Police Department, which was released alongside the video, it claimed the conversation was identified “in the routine course of business by a department employee,” who then escalated the video through a “chain of command” after expressing concern with the nature of Auderer’s comments.
According to the Seattle Community Police Commission, Aurderer, who was the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, was reportedly chatting with union president Mike Sloan.
The commission released a statement describing Aurderer’s comments as “heartbreaking and shockingly insensitive”.
“The people of Seattle deserve better from a police department that is charged with fostering trust with the community and ensuring public safety,” the statement reads.
Auderer has claimed that his comments were made in mockery of the city lawyers rather than malice towards Kandula, as per Jason Ratz, who hosts a talk show on KTTH talk radio and says he’s obtained a written document from the officer.
“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 minimise the payment,” Auderer wrote in the document, according to Rantz.
“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.”
Since the video has circulated online, many have called for Auderer to be reprimanded for his actions, with #JusticeforJaahnavi going viral on X, formerly known as Twitter.
According to CNN, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirmed that it’s “conducting a criminal review” of the crash, but the Office of Police Accountability is responsible for Auderer’s body cam footage.
The Seattle Police Department also mentioned they were in touch with Kandula’s family.
The Consulate General of India in San Francisco has urged for a thorough investigation into the death of Kandula.
“We have taken up the matter strongly with local authorities in Seattle & Washington State as well as senior officials in Washington DC,” it wrote in a statement to X.