Vanessa Bryant has released a statement saying she is "absolutely devastated" after a report claimed that some deputies in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department were sharing graphic photos of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of her husband and 13-year-old daughter.
A legal team representing the widow of Kobe Bryant issued a statement on Instagram on Sunday saying she was devastated after the report from the Los Angeles Times that some deputies were showing pictures from the crash scene to others in the public, including ones that showed human remains. The crash claimed the lives of nine people including the 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star and the couple's daughter, Gianna.
The statement was released by attorney Gary C. Robb and noted that Vanessa had visited the crash scene on the day of the crash and had asked deputies to make it a no-fly zone to protect it from photographers. Robb noted that Vanessa was given assurances that the scene would be kept private.
"This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families," the statement 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."
The Los Angeles Times report noted that some first responders were overheard discussing how graphic images of the dead victims and crash site were being shared among members of the department and potentially shown to members of the public. Reports indicated that members of the fire department may have taken photos as well.
A subsequent report from TMZ noted that several deputies at the scene were taking pictures for their own personal use, not as part of the official crime scene evidence. The report noted that a man at a bar overheard a trainee bragging to a woman that he had these photos, prompting the man to contact authorities."He tried to impress a girl by showing her the photos," the source told TMZ.
The report noted that the man overhearing the conversation was a bartender, prompting him to file an online complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The department has since launched an internal investigation. It is not clear if they have identified specific deputies who may have taken or shared photos, nor is it known what discipline those who did might face.