June 24, 2024

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Probe Indian Student's Death With 'Seriousness It Demands': US Lawmaker

Washington:

Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi on Thursday urged the Seattle Police to pursue its investigation into the tragic death of Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula with the seriousness it demands.

“Jaahnavi Kandula’s death was a horrible tragedy, and the scale of her loss should not be diminished or mocked by anyone,” Mr Krishnamoorthi said in response to the recording of a Seattle police officer laughing about the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old Indian graduate student who was killed by a police car travelling at 74 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone.

“The recording of a Seattle Police officer making light of her death and questioning the value of her life is disgusting and unacceptable. I urge the Seattle Police Department to pursue its investigation into this matter with the seriousness it demands,” Mr Krishnamoorthi said.

Ms Jaahnavi, a youth student at Washington’s Northeastern University was struck at a pedestrian crossing on the night of January 23, 2023.

In the video, Daniel Auderer, who is captured on body camera while discussing the fatal collision, can be heard saying, “Yeah, just write a check. USD 11,000. She was 26 anyway, she had limited value.” 

In a unanimous resolution, the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) called upon all relevant authorities to prioritise investigation, community engagement, and respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals, the victims and the community in suffering and grief.

NFIA appreciated India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu for strongly raising the issue at the highest level in Washington.

Indian American Impact in a statement said that it is appalled to see shocking footage of a Seattle police officer belittling the killing of an Indian woman by another police officer, saying her life “had limited value”.

“We hope the officer is held accountable and Jaahnavi Kandula’s family receives justice,” it said.

Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal strongly condemned the incident.

“Jaahnavi Kandula was killed by a speeding police car. Then, police officers joked about her death and devalued her life. I’m sick to my stomach. This is exactly what happens when we normalise xenophobia and racism. It needs to stop,” she said.

Axios reported that public outrage is mounting after a Seattle police officer was recorded on camera laughing and saying that a pedestrian struck and killed by another officer in January had “limited value”.

According to Axios, a coalition that includes family members of people killed by police released statements Wednesday objecting to Auderer’s comments. 

“It’s no joke when police reveal their true feelings of contempt for the people they are sworn to protect,” Annalisa Thomas, whose son was killed by Lakewood police in 2013, said in a news release, the news site reported.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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