Jhanvi Kandula: Woman killed by police car in Seattle remembered amid calls for justice


A spirited young woman with a bubbly laugh and a radiant smile. A talented student is on the verge of earning her master’s degree. A lovely daughter is making her mark thousands of miles away from home.

That’s how Jhanvi Kandula’s loved ones describe the 23-year-old graduate student from India who police say was fatally struck by a city police car while responding to a call at a Seattle crosswalk in January.

Now, nearly eight months later, Kandula’s family and friends are mourning once again after the release of body-worn police camera footage that captured a phone conversation in which a Seattle officer laughs and Suggests $11,000 as compensation after death.

The release of the video last week has sparked outrage across the country, especially among the South Asian diaspora — inspiring rallies, meetings with elected officials and online petitions demanding justice for Kandula. It has also caught the attention of onscreen celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Lilly Singh, who have posted online about his death.

“To know that Jhanvi did what only a few percentage of girls in India have the opportunity to do, which is to get education and that too abroad, but this is how her life was taken away and she was dismissed It is heartbreaking and unjust to the highest degree. ,” Singh wrote on Instagram.

“At what point will the world stop dismissing the value of girls and women, especially Indian girls and women?”

Police documents show that a day after the fatal attack on Kandula, Officer Daniel Auderer – a “drug recognition expert” – was dispatched to see if the officer whose vehicle struck him had been disabled. Or not. In police footage from that day, Order can be heard describing how he believed he was killed.

“But she’s dead,” Order says before laughing on Jan. 23, apparently in response to the person on the phone.

“No, this is a regular person,” the orderer says again. A few moments later, he replies: “Yeah, just write a check” and laughs.

“Yes, $11,000. She was 26 anyway,” he adds, getting Candula’s age wrong. “His value was limited.”

In an Aug. 8 letter to the city’s Office of Police Accountability released Friday by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Order wrote “the comment was intended to mock attorneys.” “I was imitating the attorney who was assigned to negotiate the case and sarcastically expressing that they shouldn’t make crazy arguments to reduce the payment.”

“This comment was not made out of malice or hard-heartedness,” Orderer wrote about a Jan. 23 phone conversation with union president Mike Solan. He believes that “the conversation was private and is not being recorded.”

Order and Seattle police did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

The Seattle Community Police Commission, a city entity that provides oversight of the city’s police department, recommended on Wednesday that Order be placed on unpaid leave as his comments are investigated. The recommendation made by the panel in a letter to the city police chief is not binding.

“There is no context that would make these comments acceptable,” the letter reads.

Following the release of the footage, the Commission co-chairs said in a previous statement, “The stated explanation that he was mocking lawyers does not make this unprofessional and inhumane conduct any better because it shows… “A blatant disregard for police accountability systems.”

For Kandula’s loved ones, “It is truly upsetting and saddening to hear the insensitive comments on the bodycam video,” her family told CNN in a statement.

“Janhvi is a loving daughter and nothing is worth anything to her mother and family,” he told CNN in a statement on Monday. “We firmly believe that every human (life) is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially during times of tragic loss.”

Rally for justice and complete investigation

On Saturday, a crowd marched through the Seattle intersection where Kandula was killed carrying signs saying, “Justice for Jhanvi”, and chanting slogans demanding police take action against their officers. Others have also protested in California and New York.

Lindsay Wasson/AP

Protesters marched through downtown Seattle late last week following the release of body camera footage of a city officer apparently mocking the death of Janhvi Kandula.

The Indian Consulate General in San Francisco has demanded a “thorough investigation” into Kandula’s death. action Against the people involved in the incident.

“Recent reports in the media about the handling of the death of Ms. Jahnavi Kandula in a traffic accident in Seattle in January are deeply troubling.” The Consulate wrote on September 13 at, formerly known as Twitter. “We have raised this matter strongly with local officials in Seattle and Washington state, as well as senior officials in Washington, DC.”

Kandula’s death and Order’s taped comments about it reminded Democratic U.S. Representative Ro Khanna of his father, who moved to the United States when he was 20. Khanna wrote on X,

“The life of every Indian immigrant has infinite value,” the California congressman said. wrote, “Anyone who thinks human life has ‘limited value’ should not serve in law enforcement.”

US Representative Pramila Jayapal also issued a demand for justice for Kandula. Saying The affair made him “sick to my stomach”, Washington State Democrat wrote on,

Seattle Police released Order’s body camera footage on September 11 “in the interest of transparency” in response to public concern over this video, Seattle Police said in a statement. The department declined to comment on the timing of the release.

The department “is in contact with the family of the injured pedestrian and continues to respect their expressed request for privacy,” it said. “As others in the accountability system move forward with their work, we again express our deepest condolences for this tragic collision.”

It is unclear whether the officer whose vehicle struck Kandula is facing criminal charges; CNN has contacted Seattle Police for comment. In the driver’s case, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office “is now independently reviewing those case materials for a charging decision,” it told CNN on Wednesday, adding that the Office of Police Accountability is responsible for examining the driver’s body camera footage. Is.

‘A young soul full of dreams and hopes’

Niranjan Shrungavarapu, president of the Telugu Association of North America, told CNN that Kandula was from the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, India, and spoke Telugu. The group helped bring his remains back to India in January, he said.

According to the school, Kandula came to the United States in 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in information systems in the College of Engineering at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus. She will graduate in December.

“A young soul full of dreams and hopes, Jahnavi came to the United States with aspirations of earning her master’s degree and becoming a symbol of support for her family,” the association said in a statement to its Seattle community and members. “His future was a shining light, which was brutally extinguished.”

Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times/AP

On January 29, Jhanvi Kandula’s photo was placed with flowers at the intersection where she was murdered.

On campus, Kandula had shown “tremendous engagement” and everyone “liked her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality,” school dean Dave Thurman said shortly after her murder.

The university planned to award the degree posthumously to Kandula and to his family, it said in a statement Thursday. The university’s main campus in Boston hosted a “moment of reflection, remembrance and unity” on Tuesday to honor Kandula’s memory, the school told CNN.

According to CNN affiliate King, a family statement in January said that Kandula “warmed the hearts of everyone he came in contact with.” “He had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life.”

“She was the daughter of a single mother who teaches primary school in India,” the statement added. Hopefully he will have “a better future and a better life abroad.”

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