Give them ‘harshest discipline’ – Vanessa wants deputies punished for sharing photos of Kobe’s crash site

Francis Akhalbey March 03, 2020
Photo via @vanessabryant on Instagram

Vanessa Bryant has been left “absolutely devastated” after reports emerged Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies allegedly shared photos of the helicopter crash site where Kobe Bryant, daughter, alongside seven others tragically lost their lives.

The unfortunate incident happened on January 26.

According to the Los Angeles Times, deputies who responded to the scene took photos of the graphic crash and went ahead to share them.

TMZ also reports that one of the deputies who took photos of the crash showed them to a woman in an attempt to impress her at a bar. A bartender who overhead what transpired, lodged an online citizen’s complaint.

All of this happened despite Vanessa visiting the sheriff’s office after the crash to request for the area to be declared a “no-fly zone” and also be barred from photographers.

Give them 'harshest discipline' - Vanessa wants deputies punished for sharing photos of Kobe's crash site
Photo via @vanessabryant on Instagram

Photos of the crash were, however, heavily discussed by first responders a few days after the incident.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation into the allegations after the LA Times report.

After the Sheriff’s Department got wind of the allegations, they initially attempted to sweep it under the rug by ordering deputies who had photos to admit to it and subsequently delete them in exchange for not facing any disciplinary action.

“Every police department struggles with the same thing, where people take photos and they’re not evidence. So that’s a practice we have to make sure that everyone walks away, and there is no evidence other than the official photos of evidence that are taken for criminal purposes,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said about the allegations.

The Sheriff’s Information Bureau also received the online citizen’s complaint about what happened at the bar. The head of the bureau, Capt. Jorge Valdez, however told the LA Times Wednesday he was “unaware of any complaint” and added “there was no order given to delete any photographs.”

Meanwhile, public safety sources alleged he knew about the complaint and was part of those who handled it.

A statement released by the Sheriff’s Department on Friday, however, said Villanueva was “deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act.”

“A thorough investigation will be conducted by the department, with the No. 1 priority of protecting the dignity and privacy of the victims and their families.”

Read Vanessa Bryant’s statement regarding the alleged photo sharing below:

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 LACOFD 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

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 3, 2020


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