Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2 – South Seattle) is calling for Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz to take immediate action after a video came out in which a Seattle police officer made abhorrent comments about a 23-year-old who had just been killed by police.
“After every high-profile incident of police abuse, we’re told to wait – wait for a six-month long investigation or a years-long review process. We’re done waiting. I’m calling on Chief Diaz to tell the Council and community, in real terms, how he plans to regain control of his department and fix the culture,” said Councilmember Morales.
“As the department and Seattle Police Officer’s Guild ask for more funding for recruitment and hiring, it’s becoming clear the top deterrent to attracting high-quality officers may be the culture of the department itself,” she continued.
We know the facts:
On January 23, Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave was driving 74 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone. He did not have his sirens on when he hit and killed Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old graduate student, who was walking in a crosswalk.
In the hours after, Officer Daniel Auderer, vice president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, called Mike Solan, president of the guild. In that call, he laughed about Jaahnavi’s death and said, ‘Yeah, just write a check. $11,000. She was 26 anyway. She had limited value.’
“As a mother of three, I am disgusted by the comments Daniel Auderer made in the video. To the friends and family of Jaahnavi, I am so sorry that you had to witness your loved one’s memory and worth reduced to joking banter and laughter,” said Councilmember Morales.
“This officer should not be on the force. But, because of the ways the SPOG contract undermines police accountability in Seattle, the City is not even able to fire him at this time,” she continued.
We also know this is not an isolated incident:
Two months ago, the Seattle Times discovered different body camera video came to light showing a fake tombstone officers left in an SPD break room mocking the death of Damarius Butts, a 19-year-old who was killed by police officers.
Last year, an investigation found that Seattle police faked radio chatter to make it seem like a group of violent white supremacists were roaming the streets during the 2020 protests.
And on January 6, 2021, Seattle police officers made up the largest known contingent of cops at the U.S. Capitol the day of the insurrection, according to KUOW. That’s just to name a few.
“We’re done waiting months, years, and decades for change. The federal court just ended much of its oversight of the police department. This is the first major case of police abuse that has come to light since. It’s now the Chief’s sole responsibility to tell the people of Seattle what he’s going to do about it,” said Councilmember Morales.