Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa 'devastated' by claims first responders have shared photos from helicopter crash

Vanessa desscribes alleged actions as 'inexcusable and deplorable'

Sarah Young
Monday 02 March 2020 09:29
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Kobe Bryant memorial service held at Staples Centre

Vanessa Bryant has responded to allegations that photos from the helicopter crash that killed her husband, NBA star Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter, Gigi Bryant, and seven other people have been shared by first responders.

On Sunday, Vanessa shared an official statement on her Instagram account condemning the Lost Hills Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department after the Los Angeles Times reported that deputies had shared graphic photos of the scene in the days after the crash.

In the statement, which was written by Vanessa’s lawyer Gary Robb, Vanessa said she was “absolutely devastated” by the allegations and revealed that she personally went to the Sheriff’s office on the day of the accident to ensure the area was protected from photographers.

“This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families,” the statement read.

“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 honour those requests.”

The statement continued by saying first responders “should be trustworthy” before calling the alleged actions “inexcusable and deplorable”.

“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” the statement read.

“We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents.”

The statement concluded with Vanessa saying she is grateful to the individual who filed an online complaint exposing “these acts of injustice”.

On Friday, the sheriff’s department confirmed that the matter is currently being investigated.

“The Sheriff’s Department is aware of recent media reports alleging deputies shared images from the January 26th, 2020 helicopter crash, which tragically claimed the lives of nine people,” a statement read on Facebook.

"The facts surrounding these allegations are currently under investigation, as are the effectiveness of existing policies and procedures.

It continued: “The Sheriff is deeply disturbed at the thought deputies could allegedly engage in such an insensitive act. A thorough investigation will be conducted by the Department, with the number one priority of protecting the dignity and privacy of the victims and their families.”

Vanessa’s statement comes just days after she attended a memorial and tribute at the Staples Center, where she delivered a tearful eulogy for her husband and daughter.

The service – named The Celebration of Life – opened with a performance by Beyonce of two songs Kobe loved before host Jimmy Kimmel then gave an emotional speech about the tragedy.

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