Vanessa Bryant is calling for action following allegations that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene that killed her husband, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna, with members of the public.
In a statement shared via social media, Bryant’s attorney Gary C. Robb says that his client was left “devastated” after hearing that photos from the crash site had been shared by deputies.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Robb continued, “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.”
Bryant thanked the individual who came forward with the complaint and asked those with any information to contact her attorney.
The Los Angeles Times reports that two sources with knowledge of the situation allege that the sheriff’s office quietly ordered deputies to delete images of the crash from their phones after a citizen complained that a deputy had shared the disturbing images in a bar. The photos had also become a topic of conversation among first responders.