"She was 26 anyway. She had limited value." - Daniel Auderer
Jaahnavi Kandula was set to graduate with a master's in information systems in three months. Jaahnavi was a brilliant student with a promising future; her radiant smile and bubbly personality warmed the hearts of everyone she met, and she had a natural ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Jaahnavi was trying to support her single mother back in India, who encouraged Jaahnavi to have a better life in America.
On January 23, 2023, Jaahnavi was struck by a police car, which was driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone, while responding to a call. One day later, Daniel Auderer debriefs the Seattle Police Officers Guild President on the situation. He claimed that Jaahnavi was of limited value, and to write a check of 11,000 dollars if the family were to sue. He then continued to repeatedly laugh after he said "she is dead.
It looks like the police are starting to put value on people. What ever happened to "to protect and to serve?" Would you want to have a value placed on your life? Would you want to let these cops go on with their lives, unscathed?
Would you want to let Jaahnavi become a faint memory in history? No. Jaahnavi won't be forgotten. It's our duty to fight, as human beings.
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How You Can Help
1. Spread Awareness
This is a case of police brutality, and it hasn't been receiving as much attention as other police brutality cases did, like George Floyd's case. Jaahnavi may have been an international student, but that does not dilute the situation at all. If anything, it makes the situation worse.
How can we be sure that it's safe to come to America, when the police place value on human life? Talk to your friends, your parents, and your community about this issue. Post about this topic on your Snapchat, Instagram, and/or Facebook stories. You can spread awareness by reposting this on your instagram story.
2. Get Involved
Write to your local lawmakers, but also write to the Seattle Police Department. Express your concerns and ensure that the SPD hears them. It's also important to make sure this doesn't happen in your community.
Get engaged with your local lawmakers to help preserve the peace in your community. You can also organize peaceful protests, and get the local government involved. Bring this topic up at the next city council meeting!
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3. Support Jaahnavi's Family
Jaahnavi's death fractured her family. Her single mother working as a teacher finds it difficult to pay off education loans. According to the GoFundMe page, "Jaahnavi's death has left a void which can't be replaced."
"Any little help from our end would be valuable during this time for the family. Let's share the burden and stand with family through these hard times." - Vanisudha Chilukuri
Without a single doubt, Auderer is unfit to serve his community as a police officer. Therefore, the citizens of Seattle organized a petition to fire Daniel Auderer for his "lack of humanity," and his "threat to public safety." As of now, there are over 7,000 supporters of this petition. The petition's next goal is 7,500 signatures. The question is: Will you help Jaahnavi?
5. Stay Informed
By educating yourself on this topic, you will be able to speak knowledgeably about this topic. Continue to educate yourself about the latest incidents regarding Jaahnavi's situation and other cases of police brutality. Staying informed will prevent misinformation from spreading.
Chances are, the police department will end up deflecting the blame. We can't let that happen!
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Why does police brutality occur?
There's simply a lack of accountability in today's police system. It certainly isn't a coincidence that the bodycam footage of Auderer was released 8 months after Kandula's death. As far as we know, this could've been covered up forever.
In most police brutality cases, the police officer who committed the crime ends up deflecting the blame onto some other issue. For example, Derek Chauvin and his defense argued that Floyd's drug use led to his death. However, this isn't true because anyone could die if there was an officer's knee on their neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Court records show that Kevin Dave, the officer who ran over Jaahnavi, had his license suspended in 2018 for unpaid traffic fines. He also failed to appear in court, and ran a red light in 2018. However, he still continued his role as an officer, with no accountability whatsoever.
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Jaahnavi's story opened my eyes to the reality of police brutality. Most media outlets say that police brutality only happens to African Americans. The truth is, police brutality can happen to anyone, and it could be covered up forever.
It's up to you to make sure something happens to the officer who placed "little value" on Jaahnavi's life. Will you step up? Will you help change the system?
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.