The Seattle police union on Friday said the video of an officer joking about the death of an Indian woman run over by a police car doesn’t “explain the full story.”
Jaahnavi Kandula was struck and killed by a speeding police car while she was using a crosswalk on Jan. 23 in Seattle. The police officer was driving 74 miles per hour when she was struck and killed.
Officer Daniel Auderer, vice president of the police union, joked later that the city should “just write a check” for the woman’s death, and that her life “had limited value,” in body camera footage released Monday.
Auderer was the officer assigned to check if Kandula was injured after the crash.
The release of the footage sparked massive protests in Seattle this week.
The police union said that there is more to the story than the bodycam footage would make one believe.
“Some viral videos of police actions shared by media, fail to explain the full story/context,” the union said in a statement. “This Seattle Police video is an example of that reality. The video captures only one side of the conversation. There is much more detail and nuance that has not been made public yet.”
According to the union, Auderer wrote a statement explaining his comments six months after the fact, from memory, when told of the video’s existence.
In the statement, Auderer said his comments were “sarcastic” and meant to embody the argument of a shrewd city lawyer attempting to minimize a monetary settlement.
“I laughed at the ridiculousness of how these incidents are litigated and the ridiculousness of how I have watched these incidents play out as two parties bargain over a tragedy,” Auderer wrote. “At the time I believed the conversation was private and not being recorded.”
“I understand that without context the comment could be interpreted as horrifying and crude. Without context the comment is insensitive to the family of the victim when in reality I was involved in a conversation regarding the callousness of the legal system,” he continued.
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