Vanessa Bryant wants the names of officers who shared Kobe crash photos to be released

County lawyers want to keep the deputies' names sealed

Vanessa Bryant called on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to publicly name the deputies who shared “unauthorized” photos of the Jan. 26, 2020 helicopter crash site which killed her husband, basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, their 13-year old daughter and seven others.

County lawyers, however, want to keep the deputies’ names sealed, arguing that outing them would give hackers access to their addresses and other personal information.

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This week Bryant’s lawyers filed an amended complaint in federal court that added the four deputies and the L.A. County Fire Department to her civil rights lawsuit against the county and the Sheriff’s Department. The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence and invasion of privacy, alleging deputies and firefighters took and shared photos of the children, parents and coaches who died in the crash, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Vanessa Bryant
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Laine Bryant attend Tribeca Shorts: Animated Shorts curated by Whoopi Goldberg during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

New information in the amended complaint sheds light on a Sheriff’s Department internal affairs report finding that one deputy took 25 to 100 photos at the crash scene and that photos spread quickly by text and phone-sharing technology over the next 48 hours among deputies who showed them to numerous others, including members of the public.

Bryant’s lawyers argued there is no compelling reason to hide the deputies’ identities, noting that the case cited as precedent by the county in its effort to hide the identities, involves sexual harassment victims.

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On Saturday, Bryant posted a statement to her Instagram stories saying that the deputies listed in her lawsuit must be held accountable, just like everyone else.

“They want their names to be exempt from the public,” she wrote. “Anyone else facing these allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public.”

Referencing the sexual assault allegation against Kobe, she wrote: “Kobe’s name was released when he was accused in 2003. Why should sheriffs get away with hiding? #doublestandard”

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