The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

SPD officer laughing at Kandula’s death reassigned to non-operational position

Daniel+Auderer%2C+who+was+reassigned+to+a+nonoperational+role+after+being+shown+laughing+at+the+death+of+a+Northeastern+graduate+student.+Photo+courtesy+Lucy+Parsons+Lab.
Daniel Auderer, who was reassigned to a nonoperational role after being shown laughing at the death of a Northeastern graduate student. Photo courtesy Lucy Parsons Lab.

Daniel Auderer, a Seattle Police Department officer who was seen on body camera footage last month laughing about the death of a Northeastern graduate student, has been taken off the streets.

The Seattle Police Department, or SPD, confirmed to The News in an email Oct. 5 that Auderer “has been administratively reassigned to a non-operational position.” It was unclear exactly when Auderer was reassigned.

In the footage released Sept. 11 by the SPD, Auderer can be heard minimizing the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, a Northeastern graduate student who was struck by SPD officer Kevin Dave in his police cruiser in January. The accident was investigated as a potential criminal act by the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, and the Office of Police Accountability, or OPA, investigated whether Dave complied with policy. The SPD did not release the results of the investigations and did not respond to The News’ questions about whether Dave was still on the force, though he was still shown as an active officer in an OpenOversight officer database. 

Kevin Dave, the police officer who struck Kandula in his cruiser in January. Photo courtesy Lucy Parsons Labs.

Auderer, who is the vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, or SPOG, was speaking on the phone with SPOG President Mark Solan when he said Kandula had “limited value” and suggested an $11,000 check be written to amend the incident.  

A statement released by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, or SPOG, Sept. 15 said that “Some viral videos of police actions shared by media, fail to explain the full story/context,” and that there is “much more detail and nuance” to the situation that has yet to be made public. 

The statement also said that upon being made aware of the existence of the footage, Auderer wrote a letter to the director of the OPA more than four weeks before the footage was made public urging “Rapid Adjudication,” or an expedited police misconduct investigation. A statement preceding the body camera footage released by SPD on YouTube said the footage was escalated to the police chief after an employee conducting “routine” duties was concerned by the comments made on the video. 

In Auderer’s letter to the director of the OPA, made public by the SPOG, Auderer maintained that he was mocking an argument a lawyer would make in “something like this.”

Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability, or OPA, confirmed to The News that an investigation had been launched into Auderer’s actions. The current status of the case is not able to be tracked because it is classified.

In an open letter dated Sept. 20, the Seattle Community Police Commission, or CPC, one of three civilian institutions alongside the OPA that oversee the SPD, urged SPD Chief Adrian Diaz to put Auderer on “indefinite unpaid leave.”

“We believe the current circumstance is an example of what this authority is designed for, and exercising this authority in this case is a necessary step toward rebuilding community trust and confidence in SPD,” the statement read. 

The letter also mentioned the 29 other complaints the OPA has investigated Auderer for, which include violations of policy regarding bias-free policing and use of force. Three of the complaints were sustained and 11 resulted in a recommendation for discipline from Auderer’s supervisor. According to the letter, the City of Seattle has paid settlements totaling over $2 million in cases involving Auderer. 

“The CPC firmly believes that Detective Auderer’s statements on his call with SPOG President Mike Solan that the deceased pedestrian – or anyone’s life – had limited value, and minimizing the investigation into the collision, are horrifying and raise serious concerns about his attitude toward and interaction with members of the community,” the statement continued. 

“Mike Solan asked me as he was lamenting the loss of life something similar to: ‘What crazy argument can a lawyer make in something like this?” Auderer wrote. Solan’s side of the conversation was either not recorded or not made public. “I responded with something like: ‘She’s 26 [sic] years old, what value is there, who cares’… I was imitating what a lawyer tasked with negotiating the case would be saying and being sarcastic to express that they shouldn’t be coming up with crazy arguments to minimize the payment.”

In February, weeks after Auderer made the insensitive comments, SPD’s Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey canceled a contract with Truleo, a software company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze body-camera video and audio to monitor police behavior, Solan had criticized the SPD for “spying” on officers after finding out the software was in use by the police department since 2021. 

A Sept. 25 tweet by Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold called on the department to release information about its contract termination with Truleo. 

“According to new reports, SPD was pressured by the Seattle Police Department Officers Guild to stop using Truleo days after Auderer made vile comments on body camera,” the tweet read. 

At the end of the body camera footage, Auderer can be seen reaching up to turn off his camera upon realizing it was turned on. 

“I am willing to accept any reasonable discipline our accountability partners and the Chief of Police wish to hand down,” Auderer’s letter to the OPA read. 

 

About the Contributor
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at Boston.com has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
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