It’s been more than eight months since the deadly helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people. Their deaths hit the NBA in a way we’ve never seen before, prompting an outpouring of grief from friends, family, teammates, fans, and media alike as we all tried to make sense of an unthinkable tragedy.
Unfortunately, there were those who attempted to use the opportunity to capitalize on that tragedy. Reports eventually emerged that some of the sheriffs involved had taken and shared graphic photographs of the scene, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva has since told reporters that they had deleted the pictures of their own accord.
But Vanessa Bryant believes that the photos in question might still exist and that they could find their way into circulation, which is why she’s filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department seeking damages.
The suit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit alleges the sheriff’s actions constituted a “cover-up” of the misconduct. The suit claims the photos could still exist.
“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.
Bryant has also filed a suit against the helicopter’s pilot, claiming that he was negligent in choosing to fly in foggy conditions. In another strange twist to this story, it apparently isn’t illegal for first responders to take photos of he deceased at the scene of an accident, though a new piece of legislation awaiting signature by Gov. Gavin Newsom would make it a misdemeanor. The county sheriff’s own internal policy forbids taking and sharing pictures at crime scenes, though it doesn’t apply to accidents.