According to reports, a deputy testified that he sent another officer graphic pictures from the crash site while the two were in the middle of a “Call Of Duty” gaming session.
Michael Russell – an L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. deputy –says the exchange of the photos happened shortly after the Lakers legend and his daughter, Gianna, perished in the tragic, Jan. 2020 helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven others.
Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant
Russell claimed he had initially received the photos from fellow deputy Joey Cruz hours after the wreck and says he joined a video game party with Santa Clarita deputy Ben Sanchez the following day. While the two were playing the video game, Russell testified that he told Sanchez he had the photos, and then asked if he wanted to see them. When the officer said yes, Russell proceeded to send them over.On Tuesday (Aug. 16) Russell admitted in court that he was wrong for sending the photos and received minimum punishment that resulted in a minor write up. Deputy Cruz also testified in court on Tuesday and admitted to showing the photos to a bartender as well. Cruz said he did it to relieve the stress he had been dealing with due to the situation. He also testified that he felt remorseful over it all.As previously reported, on January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others boarded a helicopter as they were traveling to a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy. Almost a half-hour into the helicopter ride, the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas. All nine passengers were killed on impact. The investigation regarding the leaked photos began in February of 2020. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said at the time:
“…the matter is being looked into.”
In addition to Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, @CBSNews has identified the other victims of the deadly helicopter crash in California:
As previously reported, Kobe Bryant’s widow, VanessaBryant filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the L.A. County Police Dept. She slammed Los Angeles county with the suit after she reportedly claimed the graphic photos that captured the lifeless bodies of her husband and daughter were passed around by first responders. Allegedly, firemen and law enforcement would later confess to sharing the photos with their associates, casually showing them in places such as a local bar. Bryant claimed that their actions have damaged her emotionally.Vanessa was present in court Tuesday, however she did leave the room for at least part of Cruz’s testimony.The trial is expected to continue on throughout this week.What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below![VIA]