Vanessa Bryant Sues L.A. Sheriff’s Department After Photos From Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Crash Released
Vanessa Bryant is taking legal action amid news that graphic photographs from her late husband, NBA icon Kobe Bryant’s, helicopter crash scene were released.
This news comes after Vanessa Bryant sued the helicopter company involved in the crash, accusing the pilot Ara Zobayan, of flying at 180 miles per hour and failing to avoid “natural obstacles.”
It was previously reported that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, 13, and seven other victims died after a Calabasas, Calif. helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Shortly after, it was reported that at least 8 L.A. County Sheriff Deputies shared the photos.
Now, Vanessa Bryant is suing over it.
Court documents state, according to PEOPLE,
“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. 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.”
She’s suing for damages and emotional distress after finding out about the pictures in the news. In the documents, she called out the
“department’s mishandling of this egregious misconduct.”
She said this made her “emotional distress” even worse. A spokesperson for the Bryant family said,
“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.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the only two people who should have had access to the photos are the county coroner’s office and National Transportation Safety Board investigators. He said in March,
“That is the only two groups of people. Anybody outside of that would be unauthorized. They’d be illicit photos.”
“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.”