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Vanessa Bryant Files Suit Against LA Sheriff

Widow says deputies shared photos of Kobe crash
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 22, 2020 3:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff claiming deputies shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter, and seven others. After the Jan. 26 crash, reports surfaced that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Vanessa Bryant was “shocked and devastated” by the reports, the lawsuit states. The suit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the AP reports. The victims died when the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, during cloudy weather.

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Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously told news media that eight deputies took or shared graphic photos of the scene and he ordered the images deleted. The sheriff said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes. "That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist,” Villanueva said. 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.

(Read more Vanessa Bryant stories.)

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