Prayer ceremony organised for Jaahnavi Kandula killed by overspeeding police car in Seattle
Jaahnavi Kandula, 23 was hit by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave when she was crossing a street on January 23
Jaahnavi Kandula (Image credit: GoFundMe)
Members of the Hindu community in Seattle came together to organise a prayer ceremony in memory of Jaahnavi Kandula, the 23-year-old Indian student who tragically lost her life when struck by an overspeeding police car while crossing a street.
About 25 people gathered under a cloudy sky at Denny Park on Sunday (24) afternoon to hold a Shanti Puja, a Hindu prayer ceremony that is performed to invoke peace and blessings for the departed soul, The Seattle Times reported.
“You create a message with protest, but you can create an even stronger message with peace,” said Arun Sharma, founder of UTSAV, an organisation that aims to connect South Asians with local communities.
Kandula was hit by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave when she was crossing a street on January 23. He was driving at 74 mph (more than 119 kmh) on the way to a report of a drug overdose call.
In bodycam footage released earlier this month by the Seattle Police Department, Officer Daniel Auderer laughed about the deadly crash and dismissed any implication Dave might be at fault or that a criminal investigation was necessary.
Auderer, who was involved in the investigation, can be heard calling Kandula a “regular person” and suggesting that the department “write a check”.
“Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway,” he said, misstating Kandula’s age. “She had limited value,” Auderer said.
Last week, the Seattle Community Police Commission has recommended the city police chief to relieve Auderer, who is currently under investigation for joking about and downplaying Kandula’s death, from duty and withhold his pay.