LOS ANGELES (AP) — The widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant is “absolutely devastated" by allegations that deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, her lawyer said in a statement Saturday.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday 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 in a statement Friday 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."
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“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 on Friday 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.