Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies allegedly shared graphic photos of the scene where Kobe Byrant, his daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash.
A freak incident on January 26, took the lives of the LA Lakers legend Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Christina Mauser; Payton and Sarah Chester; John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli; as well as the pilot, Ara Zobayan. In the weeks since, millions of people all across the world have been sharing their tributes.
However, at the other end of the spectrum, alleged videos of the crash itself circulated online soon after the news broke which later turned out to be another helicopter crash from many years prior. Now, a new report claims LA deputies shared photos of the crash site outside the setting of the investigation.
Two ‘public safety sources with knowledge of the events’ told the Los Angeles Times officers had been sharing graphic photos from the scene of the incident. Following further inquiries by the publication, the Sheriff’s Department confirmed that ‘the matter is being looked into’.
Currently, there is no confirmation of whether the claims are true, and if they are, how widely the photos were distributed and which specific deputies are accused. It’s also unclear in the report whether the officers in question were actually physically at the scene or if they received them later.
One of the LA Times‘ sources said first responders were discussing sharing photos of the crash site and, horrifically, the victims’ remains just two days after their deaths. That same source alleges they saw one of the photos on another officer’s phone, ‘in a setting that had nothing to do with the investigation of the crash’.
Due to the nature of the claims and the high-profile case in question, the source only contacted the paper under the condition of anonymity.
Joseph Giacalone, a teacher of police procedures at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, referred to the unauthorised sharing of photos as ‘a cardinal sin in law enforcement’.
During a short interview at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told the publication he would not discuss anything to do with the Bryant case, including any alleged complaints – or even an acknowledgement of a complaint – that officers had shared the photos inappropriately.
Capt. Jorge Valdez, the head of the sheriff’s information bureau, also said he was ‘unaware of any complaint’.
This comes days after attorneys for Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the basketball legend, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter in the crash.
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Topics: News, Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles