Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA All-star Kobe Bryant, is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Sheriff’s Department.
Kobe Bryant and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died Jan. 26 of blunt force trauma when a helicopter they were riding in crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, California. The pilot and six other passengers were also killed.
Vanessa Bryant opened the lawsuit against Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the department after staffers allegedly took photos of the accident scene and shared them with individuals not connected to the crash investigation.
According to the lawsuit, “no fewer than 8 sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cellphones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification,” Los Angeles-based KTTV reported.
Among the staffers was a deputy who showed photos to a woman he was trying to impress at a bar, KTTV reported.
The lawsuit claims a bartender who overhead the interaction filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Department, but Sheriff Villanueva told his staff they would not face consequences if they deleted any photos they may have had on their personal devices.
In documentation obtained by KTTV, Vanessa Bryant stated she has suffered severe emotional distress as she fears photos of the crash site could be leaked at any time.
“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 suit reportedly reads.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has not publicly commented on the situation.
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