Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
In the recent claim, Vanessa Bryant calls for damages for emotional distress and mental anguish after she learned that eight deputies in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department snapped photos of the graphic crash site and shared them with people outside the department, according to People magazine.
Vanessa Bryant told Sheriff Alex Villanueva that she wanted the crash site secured for privacy.
According to People magazine, the court documents read, “In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cellphone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches. 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.”
Villanueva confirmed that only the county coroner’s office and the National Transportation Safety Board could take photos of the scene.
“I am devastated and heartbroken by the conduct of those first responders who had the responsibility to protect the dignity and privacy of the victims who perished in the tragic helicopter crash in #Calabasas. #SheriffV,” he said at the time, as I reported for the Deseret News.
A spokesperson for the Bryant family told People magaizne that the filing is meant to prevent future trouble over the photos.
“This (filing) solely is about enforcing accountability, protecting the victims and making sure no one ever has to deal with this conduct in the future,” a spokesperson for the Bryant told People magaizne.
The spokesperson added, “When a family suffers the loss of loved ones, they have the right to expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect. The deputies in this case betrayed that sacred trust. This claim is intended to hold the sheriff’s department accountable and to prevent future misconduct.”
Back in March, The Los Angeles Times reported that the deputies took photos of the crash scene. The deputies were offered a deal so they didn’t have to face heavy discipline though, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
Bryant shared a statement from her lawyer on her Instagram at the time.
“First responders should be trustworthy. It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, other surrounding substations and LACOFD would allegedly breach their duty. This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families. We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an internal affairs investigation of these alleged incidents.”