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Vanessa Bryant 'devastated' over report that deputies shared graphic photos of crash, lawyer says

vanessa bryant AP
Posted at 5:56 AM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 07:56:28-05

Vanessa Bryant is "devastated" over a report that deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shared graphic photos from the crash scene that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others, her lawyer said in a statement.

Report: Los Angeles deputies shared Kobe Bryant crash photos

Two public safety sources with knowledge of the events told the Los Angeles Times that the sharing of the photos, which included the crash scene and images of the victims' remains, was a topic among first responders in the days after the crash.

In addition, one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, said he saw one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the crash, the newspaper reported.

The nine victims died on Jan. 26 after the helicopter they were in crashed into a steep hillside in Calabasas while en route to Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy.

Bryant's attorney, Gary Robb, released a statement early Sunday morning that said the widow is "absolutely devastated" by the allegations.

On the day of the crash, Vanessa Bryant went to the sheriff's office to request that the area be designated a no-fly zone to protect the scene from photographers, according to the statement.

"This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families," Robb said. "At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests."

Robb described the allegations as "an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families" and demanded that those involved "face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated."

"First responders should be trustworthy," the statement read. "It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, other surrounding substations and LAFD would allegedly breach their duty."

On Friday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office released a statement saying that an investigation had been launched into the allegations in the report.

"The Sheriff is deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act," the statement read. "A thorough investigation will be conducted by the Department, with the number one priority of protecting the dignity and privacy of the victims and their families."

Last week, Vanessa Bryant delivered a touching eulogy during the "Celebration of Life" memorial service held for her husband and daughter at the Staples Center, where she shared intimate details about their lives as a family and what she'll miss most about her loved ones.

"They were so full of joy and adventure," she said. "God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team."

On the same day as the memorial, Vanessa Bryant's attorneys submitted a wrongful death complaint against the helicopter company that operated the flight that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court will determine whether to officially file the complaint once it has been reviewed.