Last week, reports emerged that at least one member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had shared graphic photos of the Kobe and Gianna Bryant helicopter crash.
Over the weekend, lawyers for Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, released a statement about the allegations.
Our client, Vanessa Bryant, is absolutely devastated by allegations that deputies from the Lost Hills Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site.
Mrs. Bryant personally went to the Sheriff’s office on January 26th and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers. This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. At that 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.
The L.A. Times reported that one source said they saw the photos on an officer’s phone in a setting unrelated to the investigation. There was also a complaint reportedly filed by a bartender who witnessed an officer showing the photos to a woman in an attempt to impress her.
First responders should be trustworthy. It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, other surrounding substations and LACOFD would allegedly breach their duty. This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families. We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents.
Mrs. Bryant is grateful to the individual who filed an online complaint exposing these acts of injustice, and for the choice to protect human dignity.
We ask that anyone else who has information as to the facts underlying these alleged grievous and shameful incidents contact our office at 816–474-8080 or email via www.robbrobb.com
Fans are offering support in the comments of Vanessa’s Instagram, where she posted the statement.
“I’m so sorry that this occured. It was so brave of you to go down to the sheriff’s office the day of the accident to ensure the area would be protected from anyone who would want to sensationalize such a tragic event on behalf of everyone. No one should be doing anything to add to your pain and those other family members. Sending love, hugs, strength your way,