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Jaahnavi Kandula death: South Asian community protest against injustice, meet Seattle Mayor


Months after the Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula’s death following she was hit by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave when she was crossing a street on 23 January, members of the South Asian community met the Mayor of Seattle and top city officials and demanded justice.

Despite, Mayor of Seattle — Bruce Harrell — issued an apology to the Indian community for the insensitive comments made by Daniel Auderer, members of the South Asian community protest against the injustice.

As per details, on 23 January, Kevin Dave struck and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, in a crosswalk. Dave was driving 74 mph (119 kmh) on the way to an overdose call, and Auderer, a drug recognition expert, was assigned to evaluate whether Dave was impaired, The Seattle Times reported.

ALSO READ: Jaahnavi Kandula Death: ‘We are here to listen,’ Mayor issues apology on Indian student’s death in Seattle

Adding on, a viral bodycam video appeared where Officer Daniel Auderer was heard making light of the incident, wherein Jaahnavi Kandula lost her life in a collision involving a police car earlier this year.

In the video, Auderer can be heard saying, “Yeah, just write a check. $11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.”

This infuriated the situation, leading to Mayor Bruce Harrell issued an apology to the Indian community. “Members of the Indian community have come together because of the unfortunate and insensitive remarks I believe were made. We are making sure that our apology as city officials is felt to your community and family, my condolences for your loss,” he said.

Apart from this, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz also extended his condolences. “”We are here to continue to listen. We had these insensitive comments, we will ensure that it never ever occurs. We value human life,” he said.

Meanwhile, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas reacted and said a life is a life and one can’t put any value to it.

“It’s appalling to learn that such a tragic incident that happened 9 months ago is only coming to light NOW. A life is a life. One cannot put any value to it,” Priyanka, who is based out of Los Angeles, wrote on her Instagram Stories Saturday night.

In an Instagram post, singer-composer Sid Sriram said the incident shines a light on how the “brown folk” (the South Asian community) continue to be perceived in the US.

“The ‘value’ that disgusting cop spoke about and the flippance with which he said this is a direct reflection of how we as a population are viewed by many here,” Sriram wrote.

He further urged the South Asian community to raise their voice and be unapologetic about their identity.

“The only thought that keeps recurring in my mind is this: directly fight the model minority myth, f*** being passive. Be loud, take up space, speak up in all ways micro and macro, actively fight against the idea that we must conform to any stereotype, wear all aspects of your individual identity on your sleeve without apology. Our value is infinitely powerful. Prayers up for her family real prayers, no lip service,” he added in his post.

With agency inputs.

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Updated: 17 Sep 2023, 06:46 PM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.