Vanessa Bryant "Devastated" by Report Deputies Shared Photos

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Vanessa Bryant

Her lawyer, Gary Robb, said that she went to the sheriff's office on Jan. 26, the day of the crash, "and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers."

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, is "absolutely devastated" by allegations that deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, her lawyer said Saturday in a statement.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday reported that a public safety source with knowledge of the events had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the investigation of the crash. He said the photos showed the scene and victims' remains. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the allegations.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said Friday in a statement it was investigating the allegations detailed in the newspaper's report.

Vanessa Bryant's lawyer, Gary Robb, said that she went to the sheriff's office on Jan. 26, the day of the crash, "and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers."

"This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. 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 said.

Robb said the sharing of photos would be "an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families."

He called for those who shared the photos to "face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated."

The Times also reported that the Sheriff's Department quietly ordered deputies to delete any photos of the helicopter crash scene after a citizen complained that a deputy was showing the gruesome images at a Norwalk, California, bar, two public safety sources with knowledge of the events said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Statement From Gary C. Robb, Legal Counsel on Behalf of His Client, Vanessa Bryant: Our client, Vanessa Bryant, is absolutely devastated by allegations that deputies from the Lost Hills Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site. Mrs. Bryant personally went to the Sheriff's office on January 26th and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers. This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. 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. First responders should be trustworthy. 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. This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families. We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents. Mrs. Bryant is grateful to the individual who filed an online complaint exposing these acts of injustice, and for the choice to protect human dignity. We ask that anyone else who has information as to the facts underlying these alleged grievous and shameful incidents contact our office at 816–474-8080 or email via www.robbrobb.com

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