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Seattle community demands police accountability and action from city council

By Robert Engel

Seattle protest demands justice. | Fight Back! News/staff

Seattle, WA – Over 20 community members and activists brought together by the Seattle Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (SAARPR) gathered at City Hall on September 26 to deliver public comment and demand justice for Jaahnavi Kandula, who was killed by Seattle Police officer Kevin Dave on January 23, 2023.

Kevin Dave was responding to an overdose call, driving at 74 miles per hour, almost three times the posted speed limit and without a consistent siren. Kandula was walking through a lit crosswalk and had the right of way when Dave hit her and sent her flying 138 feet away from the intersection. Reports state that if Dave was traveling at 50 mph, Kandula would have had time to react and get out of the way.

On September 11, body camera footage was released of Michael Solan and Daniel Auderer, the president and vice president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, talking over their radios shortly after Kandula was killed. During the conversation, they can be heard laughing, and apparently estimating the value of her life, saying, “Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.” This sparked multiple large rallies mere days later, demonstrating to news outlets, city officials and the public that the people of Seattle have had enough. Kevin Dave, Michael Solan and Daniel Auderer have not yet sustained charges or faced consequences for their behavior or actions.

Jonathan Toledo, a member of SAARPR, delivered a unity statement written by the organization during public comment, reading, “We demand the immediate resignation of bigots Mike Solan and Daniel Auderer for their inhumane and unacceptable comments, and for Kevin Dave to be fired and convicted for the death of Jaahnavi Kandula.”

Other members of SAARPR asked the city council to reflect on their past actions on police accountability measures, saying “While SPOG argues for their worth, remember the price tag they gave Jaahnavi. Remember Solan ended the contract for FBI-backed body camera analysis because they fear accountability. Remember all of the victims of police violence you have shut down and left behind.”

Castill Hightower, a leader in the movement for police accountability and victim of the Seattle Police Department, spoke on the injustice, saying, “What adds another layer of heartlessness was the mockery of her precious life and the lives of all the victims of police violence that was made by what should be former SPOG leaders Mike Solan and Daniel Auderer.”

“We are systematically shut out and shut up. A good example of that is what has been happening to the Affected Persons Program, a pilot project to address the harms done to survivors and victims of police violence. It's been absolutely suffocated by the system, by the ‘accountability’ system – and city council.” said Valerie Schloredt, a longtime advocate of real police accountability.

With pressure from the Indian Consulate, national press, many community organizations holding demonstrations and SPOG still in the midst of contract bargaining, it remains to be seen if the officers involved will face charges or consequences. The Seattle Alliance plans to continue the fight for justice for Jaahnavi Kandula and for all officers involved to be held fully accountable.

#SeattleWA #PoliceBrutality #KillerCops #SAARPR #NAARPR #JaahnaviKandula #PoliceAccountability #CPAC