Vanessa Bryant is seeking damages for negligence and emotional distress
Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff over unauthorized pictures of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of her husband and daughter.
The accident took place on January 26, 2020, and reports about graphic images of the scene being shared surfaced, leaving Vanessa “shocked and devasted”, claims the lawsuit.
The suit is seeking damages for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, said in a statement:
“This lawsuit is about accountability and about preventing this disgraceful behavior from happening to other families in the future who have suffered loss.
The department formally refused Mrs. Bryant’s requests for information saying it was ‘unable to assist’ with any inquiry and had no legal obligation to do so. It’s now for a court to tell the department what its obligations are.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had told news outlets that eight deputies took or shared graphic pictures of the scene and he ordered the images deleted.
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According to the sheriff, the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.
Speaking to NBC News, Villanueva had said:
“That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist. We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit is alleging that the sheriff’s actions led to a “cover-up” of the misconduct.
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“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 lawsuit states.
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