Six days after Kobe & Gianna Bryant’s public memorial, Vanessa Bryant is speaking out against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office, regarding the mishandling of the sensitive evidence surrounding her late husband and daughter’s death. According to a statement issued earlier today, Bryant, 37, is absolutely devasted at the violation of privacy she and the other families have been subjected to.
On January 26, basketball legend Kobe Bryant died alongside his 12-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others. News of the tragedy spread quickly and prompted Bryant’s to act swiftly to protect the integrity of everyone involved.
In the statement issued by Bryant’s attorney, Gary C. Robb—the widow went to the sheriff’s office immediately after receiving the news of her husband—and spoke to the sheriff personally to request the crash site be classified as a “no fly zone.” The request would prevent photojournalists and the paparazzi from circulating any gruesome photos of the victims.
At the time, Bryant was assured the sanctity of the victims’ bodies would be protected, along with the privacy of the families who were also involved.
“At the time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests,” Robb wrote regarding the news of the situation.
On Feb. 27, the LA Times reported the initial allegations. Apparently, someone came forward after overhearing a conversation about the photos being taken and possibly circulating from someone in the office. Sources of the publication stated he actually saw the photos on an official’s phone in a setting that were unrelated to the crash investigation.
Currently, no one has come forward with the photos, nor has any deputies been named in the alleged incident. Since the information has come to light, Robb has requested an internal affairs investigation be launched to further inquire about the allegations. In his statement, Robb stated on behalf of the grieving widow, they would like to see those involved in the breach of privacy “punished to the harshest possible discipline, and their identities be brought to light.”
“First responders should be trustworthy. It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, other surrounding substations and LAFD would allegedly breach their duty,” Robb stated.
He continued, “This is unspeakable violation of human decency, respect and of the privacy rights of the victims and families.”
Authorities are currently looking into how the photos were leaked. The Commission’s Executive Director, Brian Williams told the Times his office will be inquiring with the Sheriff’s office on if the photos that were seen in the phone were taken by the deputy who possessed the photos or if they were sent by someone else.
Robb ended his statement with requesting anyone who had knowledge regarding the incident to come forward and thanking them for Bryant.
“Mrs. Bryant is grateful to the individual who filed an online complaint exposing these acts of injustice, and for the choice to protect human decency.”