Eight deputies allegedly shot cellphone photos of the bodies of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant at the site for their own personal gratification.
In the lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant said that the leaked photos caused her “severe emotional distress.”
She added that the photos were the center of discussion within the sheriff’s department as it was shared with other colleagues who were not involved in the investigation.
The photos were allegedly exposed when one deputy was at a bar and he showed the graphic pictures to a woman trying to impress her. A bartender allegedly overheard the conversation and called the sheriff’s department with a tip of what was heard.
Vanessa Bryant states in the lawsuit that Sheriff Alex Villanueva tried to cover it up by telling the deputies if they deleted the photos, no further discipline would come, in order to destruct the evidence. Sheriff Villanueva reportedly did not let the families know about the photos, and the families instead found out on social media.
The lawsuit also adds that Sheriff Villanueva never gave the families straight answers about how the photos were taken and Vanessa Bryant fears that they will leak online.
The court documents state:
“Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
The lawsuit also asks for an undisclosed amount in damages, as well as punitive damages.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Ara George Zobayan
Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously spoke on the allegations and 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.”
What are your thoughts on Vanessa Bryan’s lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department? Let us know in the comments!