Vanessa Bryant is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Alex Villanueva over leaked photos from the disturbing site of January’s helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on January 26, 2020.
Bryant alleges multiple deputies took personal cellphone pictures of the victims. Bryant claims she was made aware of the “gratuitous images” after one deputy allegedly used the photos of the victims “to try to impress a woman at a bar.” She is suing for emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
“But the biggest threat to the sanctity of the victims’ remains proved to be the sheriff’s department itself,” the complaint reads. “Faced with a scene of unimaginable loss, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification. As the sheriff’s department would later admit, there was no investigatory reason for deputies to be taking pictures of the victims’ remains.”
One deputy allegedly took out his phone at a bar to try and impress a woman by “bragging about how he had been at the crash site,” per the lawsuit. A bartender overheard the interaction and filed a written complaint with the sheriff’s department.
After the alleged incident, Sheriff Villanueva did not inform the families, initiate an investigation “or inspect the deputies’ phones to determine whether and how the photos had been shared.” According to the 47-page document, he directed a cover-up and told deputies if they deleted the pictures they would not face discipline. Vanessa only learned such photos existed one month later in a Los Angeles Timesreport about the misconduct.
Vanessa was “shocked and devastated” and privately tried to get information from the sheriff’s department “to assess whether she should brace for pictures of her loved ones’ remains to surface on the internet.”
“The sheriff’s department’s outrageous actions have caused Mrs. Bryant severe emotional distress and compounded the trauma of losing Kobe and Gianna. Mrs. 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 complaint reads.
Vanessa is mother to three other daughters: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 1-year-old Capri.
Source: Yahoo News