BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL
Accountability

Vanessa Bryant won’t stop fighting for justice after deputy trainee showed photos of Kobe Bryant’s body at a bar

Vanessa is suing the Los Angeles County after first responders shared photos of the human remains

Vanessa Bryant hasn’t been able to grieve the loss of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi Bryant in peace after they got killed in a helicopter crash, alongside seven other individuals. Vanessa, who is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department and other agencies after allegedly first responders took and shared unauthorized photos of the human remains, won’t stop fighting for justice.


According to the Los Angeles Times, a deputy trainee at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department went to a local bar days after the fatal accident and allegedly showed photos of the scene. The publication revealed that Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered amnesty from discipline to the people involved if they deleted the images and told themselves.

Kobe Bryant Killed In Helicopter Crash In Calabasas Hills©GettyImages
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at a news conference on the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others January 27, 2020 in Calabasas, California.

Surveillance video recorded by the establishment shows deputy trainee Joey Cruz showing the heartbreaking images to a bartender at Baja California Bar and Grill. The photos were reportedly forwarded to him by another deputy.


Villanueva became aware of the sensitive photos when 46-year-old Ralph Mendez, sitting near the bar, noticed that Cruz had photos of the crash site on his phone. After pondering about what he should do next, Mendez decided to inform Villanueva to avoid the images leaking online.


“There was a deputy at Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk who was at the Kobe Bryant crash site showing pictures of his ... body. He was working the day the helicopter went down … He is a young deputy, shaved head with tattoos on his arm,” according to the Times.

It has been almost two years since the crash, and such photos have never been leaked; however, for Vanessa Bryant, there is a possibility that they may surface. “For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen either close-up photos of my husband’s and daughter’s bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening,” Vanessa Bryant said.

Premiere Of Disney's "A Wrinkle In Time" - Arrivals©GettyImages

Bryant and the other families hurting from the crash are suing the county and the sheriff for negligence and invasion of privacy. According to the publication, The Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle, but the parties involved refused the offer. After the lawsuit, it is now considered a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized pictures of a death scene.


On October 12, 2021, Vanessa appeared in a Zoom video conference to testify on the morning of the helicopter crash. According to the transcript, filed in court on Friday, October 22, and obtained by E! News, Vanessa said that although she has not seen any photos of her husband and daughter’s remains, she has the clothes that Kobe and Gianna wore during the helicopter. “I had to recover all their items because I know people are sick and would like to take pictures of them and share them,” she said.


“They suffered a lot,” she added. “And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I cannot imagine how someone could be callous and have no regard for them or our friends, and just share the images as if they were animals on a street.”


The 39-year-old former model and philanthropist continued by explaining what emotional distress means to her. “Emotional distress means that not only do I have to grieve the loss of my husband and child, but for the rest of my life, I‘m going to have to fear that those photographs of my husband and child will be leaked,” she responded. “No one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay,” she added, asking for accountability.

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. According to TMZ Sports, smoke was seen from the aircraft amid foggy conditions before crashing into a hillside. The publication also reported that they were heading to basketball practice at Mamba Academy nearby Thousand Oaks.

The former Los Angeles Laker’s player retired in 2016 and is survived by Vanessa and their three other daughters, Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch with your cultura. Get the latest on your favorite celebrities, royals, and the best beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news delivered right to your inbox!