The aftermath of the helicopter crash that ended Kobe Bryant’s life and that of his daughter continues, but the latest news is from Kobe’s late wife, Vanessa Bryant. In a series of Instagram posts, Bryant unveiled details of a lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff’s and Fire Departments due to their mismanagement of the crash scene last January.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin noted in his reporting on Bryant’s posts, the lawsuit details how one sheriff’s deputy took between 25 and 100 pictures of the scene (including the bodies of the crash victims) and sent them around to others in the department. Bryant specifically made a point of releasing the names of the deputies who participated in what the suit calls “morbid gossip.”
They are: Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales. As McMenamin notes, Bryant recently won a case that allowed the names of the deputies to be made public.
Among the more egregious allegations in the lawsuit — which Bryant posted numerous screenshots of on her Instagram page — are the lies told by deputies Cruz and Mejia, including their insistence that they sent fewer and less salacious photos around than they actually did. In interviews with investigators, the suit states, both have admitted their lies and misjudgment, though not fully.
The releases from this case by Bryant come shortly after an official report detailed the mistakes made by Bryant’s personal pilot while flying in poor weather conditions. At the same time, the misconduct by law enforcement is a key part of the circumstances around Bryant’s death, and a heavily criticized part of celebrity accidents overall, so it is understandable that Vanessa Bryant would continue to pursue justice.