Indian Consulate ‘strongly’ raises Jaahnavi Kandula’s case with US authorities

Seattle: The Indian consulate in Seattle said that it has “strongly” raised the issue of Indian student Jaahnavi Kandula’s killing in the US with the city police and the case is now being referred to Seattle City Attorney’s office for review.

The move comes after the King’s County Prosecutor’s Office said on Wednesday that they will not be pressing charges against Seattle Police Officer Kevin Dave, who ran over and killed Kandula, last year due to “lack of sufficient evidence”.

In a statement posted on X on Friday, the Indian Consulate said that they are awaiting the “completion of Seattle Police’s administrative investigation and will continue to monitor progress in the case”.

“We have also raised the matter strongly with local authorities, including Seattle Police for appropriate redress. The case has now been referred to Seattle City Attorney’s office for review,” the Consulate said.

In addition, the Consulate said that it is in “regular touch with the designated family representatives and will continue to extend all possible support in ensuring justice for Jaahnavi and her family”.

Kandula, a student of the Northeastern University in South Lake Union, died after she was hit by a Seattle Police vehicle driven by officer Kevin Dave at a pedestrian crossing on the night of January 23 last year.

Dave, who was responding to a “high priority” call that day at 8 pm, had reportedly chirped his siren, but did not have it running consistently, as he plowed into Kandula.

“After staffing this case with senior deputy prosecuting attorneys and office leadership, I have determined that we lack sufficient evidence under Washington State law to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the King County Prosecuting Attorney said in its statement on Wednesday.

Attorney Leesa Manion, however, noted, “Kandula’s death is heartbreaking and impacted communities in King County and across the world.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), a US-based Hindu advocacy group, said on Friday that it is “shocking” and “disheartening” to see that the investigation into the killing of Kandula is dismissed with no charges against those who struck her.

“It is shocking and disheartening to see the investigation into the killing of #JaahnaviKandula be dismissed with no charges against those who struck her. Where is #justice for the family of this young international student, run over in a #Seattle sidewalk by a police car?” CoHNA said in a post on X.

Kandula was thrown 100 feet when she was struck by the speeding police patrol vehicle and died on the spot.

“I f–ked up,” Dave was heard saying after the accident at the intersection where he accelerated up to 74 miles per hour at one point, much higher than the prescribed limits of 25 and 20 mph respectively.

According to the footage, moments after reaching the top speed, he slowed down the car before striking Kandula at the intersection.

The bodycam video also showed Dave performing CPR on Kandula after the collision.

Kandula came to the US in 2021 and was pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems at the College of Engineering, Northeastern University. She was set to graduate in December 2023.

She was the daughter of a single mother, who earned less than $200 a month and had taken an education loan to send Kandula to study abroad.

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