1. SPD has confirmed that the name of the officer who killed a 23-year-old student in a crosswalk earlier this month is Kevin Austin Dave, who joined the department in 2019. Divest SPD, the police watchdog group, first reported Dave’s name on Twitter Monday morning; they described the process they used to figure out his identity on Twitter and in a Substack post.
Dave, who is in his mid-30s, was driving to provide backup to Seattle Fire Department first responders at the scene of a suspected overdose in South Lake Union when he hit Jaahnavi Kundala, who was crossing Dexter Ave. in a marked crosswalk at Thomas Street. As PubliCola reported, the city had planned to install Seattle’s first protected crosswalk at the intersection, but Mayor Bruce Harrell canceled this safety project in his 2023 budget, citing financial constraints.
Court records, obtained through a records request, confirm another detail Divest SPD posted on Twitter: Dave received a ticket for running a red light in Puyallup in late December 2017. Documents show that he didn’t pay his $124 fine, and the ticket went into collections last year.
Initially, in response to a request to confirm Dave’s identity, an SPD spokesperson sent PubliCola to a statement published on the department’s blog on January 26, which reads in part: “for purposes of both preserving the integrity of the investigation and respecting the family’s right to privacy, [SPD] will not be putting out information over and beyond what has already been provided.” In an email confirming Dave’s identity, the spokesperson said, “We are still exploring what—if any—additional details we can release and may be able to provide more information soon.”
PubliCola has requested information about how fast Dave was driving, whether he stopped after hitting Kandula or went on to his destination a few blocks away, and whether SPD is pursuing a criminal investigation.
2. City council member Teresa Mosqueda is seriously considering a run for the King County Council District 8 seat being vacated next year by longtime County Councilmember Joe McDermott, according to numerous sources—in fact, the will she/won’t she chatter about Mosqueda’s electoral plans make this the worst-kept secret in Seattle politics right now.
Mosqueda, who lives in West Seattle, wouldn’t confirm or deny the rumors. But a run for county council would make sense on a number of levels. First, the county council is simultaneously lower-profile than the city council and has a broader scope—encompassing issues that the city doesn’t deal with directly, such as health policy and transit service. Second: It’s no secret that the Seattle City Council has become a toxic place to work; becoming a council member means accepting an endless barrage of verbal abuse, along with occasional protesters at your home. Four council members have already said they won’t seek reelection this year.
Mosqueda, like her colleagues, has to be acutely aware that the job is both riskier and less rewarding than it used to be. (One of her colleagues who is stepping down, District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold, for example, had a brick thrown through her window while she was home and was later among the targets of a violent “protest” encouraged by the late right-wing radio provocateur Dori Monson.)
It also makes sense that, if Mosqueda plans to eventually run for higher office, such as Congress, she might want to put some distance between herself and the eternally unpopular city council.
Two others who we heard were considering a bid for the seat Jeanne Kohl-Welles is leaving, Seattle City Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss, said they aren’t running; Lewis has announced he’s seeking reelection to the city council, and Strauss told PubliCola by text, “Love my job representing D6!”
If Mosqueda was elected to county council this year, the council would have to appoint her replacement, since her citywide council seat won’t be on the ballot until 2025.
Other rumored) candidates for McDermott’s current seat include West Seattle attorney Rob Saka, who has also considered a run for the District 1 city council seat Lisa Herbold is leaving; Burien Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling; and Burien City Councilmember Jimmy Matta. The district includes much of downtown Seattle, West Seattle, Burien, part of Tukwila, and Vashon Island.
Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who represents Ballard, Queen Anne, and Magnolia also announced that she plans to leave her seat after her term ends this year. So far, only one candidate—managing assistant state attorney general Sarah Reyneveld, who ran for the 36th District state House seat in 2020, losing to Liz Barry—has announced in that race. Two others who we heard were considering a bid for the seat Jeanne Kohl-Welles is leaving, Seattle City Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss, said they aren’t running; Lewis has announced he’s seeking reelection to the city council, and Strauss told PubliCola by text, “Love my job representing D6!”