Vanessa Bryant lawsuit: Sued LA County sheriff's department over crash photos - Sports Illustrated

Vanessa Bryant Sues L.A. County Sheriff's Department Over Alleged Crash Site Photos

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Kobe Bryant's widow is devastated by the report that deputies shared photos of the crash scene.

Vanessa Bryant has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva and his department over photos she alleges were taken by deputies at the crash site where Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant and seven others died following a helicopter accident, according to USA Today and the Associated Press.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of California last Thursday, alleges at least eight sheriff's deputies took photos of the crash site on their personal cellphones. It also claims that a deputy trainee showed the photos to someone at a bar days later, and a bartender who overheard the conversation filed a written complaint with the sheriff's department.

"At the moment the deputies snapped photos of Kobe and Gianna's remains, they created a harm that cannot be undone, and the Department's response has only exacerbated that harm," the lawsuit said, according to USA Today.

The lawsuit alleges that Villanueva told the deputies to delete the photos. In February, the Los Angeles Times reported that deputies took photos of the helicopter crash scene and later shared them. According to the suit, the sheriff's department did not formally investigate the incident.

The lawsuit also claims that Vanessa Bryant fears the photos will be leaked, and "this uncertainty has caused Mrs. Bryant severe stress." She is seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages, and cited emotional distress, negligence and invasion of privacy in the suit.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department did not immediately respond to USA Today's requests for comment.

On Jan. 26, Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers were headed to a youth basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy when their helicopter went down in the hills of Calabasas. All nine people on the helicopter, including the pilot, died in the crash. 

In February, Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that operated the helicopter, and the estate of pilot Ara  Zobayan. The complaint seeks unspecified compensatory damages and punitive damages.