Vanessa Bryant is taking legal action over the unauthorized release of pictures taken at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianni Bryant, and seven others.
People reports that the widow of the late NBA legend is seeking damages for emotional distress and mental anguish stemming from the claim that eight L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies took graphic images of the accident victims and shared them with unauthorized persons.
A spokesperson for the Bryant family who chatted with People made the following statement:
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.
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.”
Another report from The Los Angeles Times reveals that a public safety source told the publication that he saw one of the images on another official’s phone in a setting that had nothing to do with the investigation of the crash.
Back in March, Sheriff Alex Villaneuva had said that a deputy trainee was allegedly seen sharing photos from crash scene at a bar. Someone who had witnessed the act had filed an online complaint alerting authorities to the occurrence.
At the time, Vanessa Bryant‘s attorney had stated that she was devastated by the allegation, especially after she went to the Sheriff’s office on the day of the crash to personally request that the area where the helicopter had crashed be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers.
Part of the legal filing obtained by People reads:
No fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell phone 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.”
Mrs Bryant was distressed to learn that the department did not initiate a formal investigation until after the L.A. Times broke the story on or about February 28, and that the department had taken few if any steps to contain the spread of the photos.”
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