Sheriff's department looking into whether deputies shared graphic photos of Kobe Bryant crash
© Photo by James Anderson/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is probing if some of its employees are responsible for the public release of graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others late last month.

It is not clear how extensively the photos might have spread or whom they came from, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

A spokeswoman with the sheriff's department told The Hill on Friday, "The matter is being looked into, and there are no further comments."

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One source told the Times that the sharing of the photos was a topic of discussion among first responders in the days following the crash. The source said he saw one of the images on the phone of another official in an inappropriate setting, unrelated to the investigation of the crash.

Joseph Giacalone, an educator on police procedures at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said sharing the photos with anyone not authorized to see them "is a cardinal sin in law enforcement" in most cases.

In 2012, a Los Angeles police officer was fired after colleagues discovered a connection between the officer and a leaked image of Rihanna after Chris Brown beat her, the Times reported.

Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, died on Jan. 26.