Seattle officer captured on bodycam saying woman struck by another cop 'had limited value'
New bodycam footage released by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) Monday afternoon detailed remarks an officer made about another officer whose cruiser killed a woman in a collision in January.
A Seattle police officer was traveling at 74 miles per hour just before his police cruiser struck and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, in an intersection in January, according to a case investigation report.
The officer, who has not been charged with a crime, was responding to an emergency call and was in a 25 mph zone at the time of the collision. Kandula had the right of way and was struck by the cruiser at approximately 63 mph, according to the report.
In the body camera footage published on Monday, another officer who was not involved in the January collision was captured in the video saying, "but she is dead" and laughing while on the phone.
"She was 26 anyway," the officer said in the video. "She had limited value."
Police said a department employee identified the body cam video and notified leadership of their concerns. The Office of Police Accountability is investigating the footage.
"While any incident of public concern is under OPA, SPD or OIG review, no City employee should comment, either in their official or personal capacity, in a way that suggests that any factual, policy, or legal conclusions have been reached about the incident," SPD said in a post published on Monday afternoon. "Recognizing the public concern around this video, SPD is putting out this video in the interest of transparency, but consistent with City law, SPD reserves any comment on the substance pending the completion of OPA’s investigation.
"SPD has been in touch with the family of the victim pedestrian and continues to honor their expressed request for privacy. As others in the accountability system proceed with their work, we again extend our deepest sympathy for this tragic collision.”
On the night of Jan. 23, officers responded to the scene at Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street around 8 p.m. Kandula was crossing from east to west in the crosswalk when she was hit.
Officers provided CPR to her until Seattle Fire Department medics arrived and took her to Harborview Medical Center, where she died.
The officer was responding to a "priority one" call at the request of the Seattle Fire Department, according to SPD. According to the report, the officer was responding to a report of a drug overdose.
According to the report, the officer did not have his siren activated continuously. Instead, the officer "chirped" his siren at the intersection. He did have his emergency lights on, according to a previous statement from the police department.
At the time of the collision, Kandula was wearing a black jacket, black pants and white shoes. She may have had Apple AirPods in both ears, according to the report. Investigators did not determine what mode the AirPods were in - if they were worn at the time of the collision.
She was about 18 feet into the crosswalk when she was hit, according to the report.
A report found that speed was the cause of the collision, as the speed at which the officer was traveling did "not allow [Kandula] or him sufficient time to detect, address and avoid a hazard that presented itself," the report stated.
As the officer approached the point where the collision happened, it "appeared he attempted to avoid the collision by steering and braking," according to the report. However, the report goes on to say steering input "was slight and rapid," and ultimately did not change the path of the vehicle. Braking was done prior to the collision, but was not enough to avoid the collision due to the speed.
A drug recognition expert responded to the scene and found no impairment in the officer.