Firefighters who took photos of Kobe Bryant crash site may be fired
An internal probe found the first responders had taken photos of the victims of the crash with “no business necessity.”
Two Los Angeles County firefighters may be fired after taking and sharing photos of the crash site where famed Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others lost their lives last January.
A third firefighter has been suspended after an internal investigation found that the three first responders had taken photos of the victims of the crash with “no business necessity.”
The firefighters were not named in the lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant, which alleges an invasion of privacy. Her attorneys wrote that the firefighters’ photos “only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.”
The two firefighters shared the photos with the third, and they are reported to have shared them or showed them to wives, girlfriends and other friends.
The two officers received “intent to discharge” letters in December; their termination has not been finalized.
Several L.A. County sheriff’s deputies were previously named in Bryant’s lawsuit, and, as previously reported, she shared their names on social media.
The deputies were disciplined but kept their jobs.
Following the Jan. 26 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas and Bryant’s subsequent suit, California Governor Gavin Newsom made it a crime for first responders to take and share unauthorized photos of an accident or crime scene. The county is pushing back against the lawsuit, saying the photos were never publicly disseminated so didn’t cause any harm to Bryant’s family.
Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. His formal induction will be presented by Michael Jordan, and his widow will speak at the ceremony.
The Lakers star embraced Jordan as a “big brother” in the NBA, a role the elder cherished.
“Kobe was my dear friend; he was like a little brother,” Jordan said at Bryant’s memorial. “When Kobe died, a little piece of me died. … This kid had passion like you would never know. As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”