Kobe Bryant crash: Graphic pictures of bodies found on phones of eight cops, new lawsuit claims
Vanessa Bryant, on September 22, has sued the LA County Sheriff Department after it was reported that eight police officers from the LA County Sheriff's Department had taken pictures of the helicopter crash site where basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant were killed. The officers had reportedly clicked many pictures of the victims of the helicopter crash which included the dead children, their parents and coaches, states the lawsuit.
The group had been on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice on January 26 when the helicopter had crashed in the Calabasas mountains in Los Angeles. Among the victims were Bryant, his daughter Gianna, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa (a friend of Gianna's), Sarah and Payton Chester, and one of the coaches at Kobe's youth academy, Christina Mauser, who was married to Tijuana Dogs singer Matt Mauser.
The late NBA legend's wife sued the LAPD Sheriff after the graphic and grisly images showed the remains of the NBA star and seven others who had died in the helicopter crash. She was told by Sheriff Alex Villanueva that deputies were securing the crash site, where onlookers had been gathering, according to the lawsuit. However, Sheriff Villanueva admitted that eight cops who were at the scene had taken pictures of the accident and were involved in sharing those photos, reports The Sun.
The lawsuit which was obtained by TMZ states, "No fewer than 8 sheriff's deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification."
According to the lawsuit, the pictures had also become a topic of discussion within the department as deputies allowed their colleagues to view the pictures which had no investigative purpose. It is also said that a deputy had also shown the pictures of the crash to a woman he was trying to impress at a bar back in March this year. The bartender had overheard the conversation and had called the sheriff's department. According to Vanessa, it was at that point that Sheriff Villanueva had attempted to cover it up by going to the Sheriff's substation that responded to the crash and told officers that if they deleted the pictures, they would not face any discipline.
The lawsuit states that the intention and purpose of his talk was the destruction of evidence. It is also said that Villanueva had not told the families of the pictures and they only learned of the same when the media put out the story that the deputies had clicked many pictures of the site.
Vanessa is said to be in constant fear that the pictures will be leaked. "Ms. 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.
Recently, she had taken to her Instagram stories to share pictures of memorabilia pieces that she had collected during Kobe's career on Wednesday, September 23. Some of these items included Kobe's high school jersey and warmups which the family only recovered in 2013, as well as the Adidas sneakers that Kobe had worn during his championship run with the Los Angeles Lakers and the champagne-soaked t-shirt he wore after winning the championship back in 2001. Vanessa had said, "I keep EVERYTHING for my baby and our girls."