Deputy Senate Majority Leader Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) released the statement below in reaction to the recently released bodycam footage of a Seattle police officer mocking the death of Jaahvani Kandula:
“I was shocked and saddened by the callousness displayed in the conversation between two Seattle police officers just hours after the death of Jaahvani Kandula.
“Incidences like this are precisely why there is a lack of trust between the community and law enforcement. Regardless of whether or not this was meant to be a private conversation, the attitude about the death of a young woman is appalling.
“We have worked for years in the legislature to reform policing, to provide accountability and transparency in order to ensure that interactions between police and people end peacefully.
“What we’ve encountered in our work, with a few exceptions, has been resistance, disinformation and pearl clutching at the very suggestion that anything is wrong with policing in our state. Police culture has to change. We need guardians of our community, officers who respect the people they are paid to serve and believe in the value if each individual life.
“The revolting conversation between the president and vice president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild hours after Jaahvani’s death should leave no doubt that something is not only horribly wrong, but broken.
“As a prosecutor I have worked with law enforcement for years. I know how difficult and important a job it is. I also know that you have to serve the people and the city you work for with compassion and humility.
“I hope the good cops we so often hear about and who I know personally step up and say enough is enough. These are your leaders. This is who you’ve chosen to represent you. They are making your already difficult job much harder.
“We need partners in law enforcement, not adversaries. We need guardians, not warriors.”