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Vanessa Bryant files legal action over unauthorized photos of crash scene

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late basketball star Kobe Bryant, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department alleging deputies shared graphic images showing the aftermath of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed her husband, 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

The suit, obtained by People Magazine, seeks to claim damages for emotional distress and mental anguish after the Los Angeles Times reported that at least one deputy took images of the helicopter crash and shared them with unauthorized individuals, including at least one instance at a bar in California.  

Bryant reportedly personally asked Sheriff Alex Villanueva on the morning of the crash to secure the site for privacy. Only the county coroner’s office and investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were allowed to photograph the scene, Villanueva said. 

“In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” the lawsuit claims. “As the Department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”

“Rather than formally investigate the allegations to identify the extent of dissemination and contain the spread of the photos, Department leadership reportedly told deputies that they would face no discipline if they just deleted the photos,” the claim adds.

Bryant’s legal action comes days after the California legislature introduced a bill that would make it a crime for first responders to take and share photos of bodies at a crime scene.

Tags Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant helicopter crash Vanessa Bryant
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