Vanessa Bryant: Identify deputies who shared Kobe Bryant crash images
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant, wants the names of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who shared images of the crash that killed him and their daughter to be publicly identified.
“They want their names to be exempt from the public,” Vanessa Bryant reportedly wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. “Anyone else facing these allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public.”
Bryant has sued the county after learning deputies who responded to the January 2020 crash had “showed off” photos of the wreckage as personal mementos.
“Faced with a scene of unimaginable loss, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification,” her lawsuit reads.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said last year that he had addressed the issue with the officers involved soon after learning of the deputies’ actions at the scene of the crash that day.
“We identified the deputies involved,” Villanueva said at the time. “They came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”
But Bryant wants the deputies publicly named, she said on Sunday, and referenced the media frenzy surrounding rape accusations against her husband in 2003.
“Kobe’s name was released when he was accused in 2003,” she wrote on Instagram. “Why should sheriffs get away with hiding? #doublestandard”
The NBA legend was killed when a helicopter carrying him, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed outside Los Angeles. A federal investigation found the pilot, Ara Zobayan, “could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles” and been suffering from “spatial disorientation” at the time of the crash.
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