The Seattle Police Department’s official Instagram account has been swamped with comments, ranging from enraged to deeply concerned, following the release of a body-cam recording which caught vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Daniel Auderer, making controversial remarks about the tragic death of Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old Indian student.
Jaahnavi Kandula, a Northeastern University student, was fatally struck by a police patrol vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave while she was walking at a crosswalk near Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street in Seattle. This incident alone was enough to draw nationwide attention, but the subsequent release of Auderer’s recorded conversation turned it into a massive controversy. Auderer’s suggestion that Kandula’s life had “limited value” and that the city should “just write a check” has sparked public outrage, calling for accountability and systemic changes in the police department.
The Instagram Outcry
In this era of digital activism, it didn’t take long for the public to turn to social media to voice their opinions. Seattle Police Department’s latest Instagram posts, unrelated to the incident, are now inundated with comments referencing the tragic event and Auderer’s remarks. Comments such as “#JusticeForJaahnavi” and “Is this the value you put on a human life?” can be seen repeatedly.
Several users questioned the department’s commitment to community engagement and accountability, with comments like, “How do we trust a department that thinks this way about its citizens?” and “This isn’t just about one officer’s remarks. This is about the culture of a department.”
The Power of Social Media in Shaping Public Opinion
The flood of comments on the Seattle Police Department’s Instagram account is a testament to the influential role of social media in shaping public opinion and mobilizing civic engagement. Instagram, once a platform primarily for sharing personal photos, has increasingly become a space for political activism, community organization, and calls for justice.
This incident underscores the importance of transparency and accountability for public service agencies, particularly in the age of digital media where public reactions can be swift and potent.
Here are some of the comments
Highlighted comments from the post:
- Quick question, I’m only 34, what do you think my value is?
- He killed someone, clearly it was malicious if he could sit there and make fun of her death. And you guys want to pretend to care about safety. ADDRESS IT.
- What your officers did were psychologically distressing and sickening! What an environment you have created that those officers were not able to without a care kill an innocent girl who had a life ahead of her and also without an ounce of humanity or worry that their body cam was on talk about her in that disgusting manner. Abuse of power. Jaahnavi Kandula’s life was not of limited value she mattered!!
- So murdering someone is part of the requirements to be one of you guys?
- No words for how deplorable your department’s actions, or lack thereof. #justiceforjaahanvikandula
- Suspend the two officers immediately and put them on trial. Publicly condemn them and apologize. Shameful leadership to the point you are implicated in murder.
- JUSTICE FOR JAAHNAVI KANDULA. SAY HER NAME. #justiceforjaahnavikandula
- Justice for Jaahnavi Kandula 🤍
- Shame on every single one of you for having a psycho “protect” the people. I hope that poor soul gets justice and that officer better be suspended and never allowed to be an officer.
- Y’all gonna quantify their lives too?
While the comments on Instagram represent only a fraction of the broader public opinion, they are indicative of the deep concern many people feel about the incident and the subsequent remarks. It serves as a reminder that, in today’s interconnected world, public servants are under heightened scrutiny, and their actions and words can have far-reaching implications. The Seattle Police Department, and indeed police departments around the country, would do well to take this incident as an opportunity to re-evaluate their internal culture, training protocols, and community engagement strategies.