Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, has said she lives in fear that pictures of her dead husband and daughter will be leaked on the internet by trolls.
"I live in fear close-up photos of my husband and daughter will go viral," she said in court documents seen by TMZ.
Ms Bryant recently filed a declaration in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for invasion of privacy: “If you can't bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them,” she said to the sheriff after learning there were no survivors of the helicopter crash and that her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna had died.
She claims that LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised to keep the crash scene private. Ms Bryant later learned that photos had been leaked and has confirmed that she has seen one photo, which she believed to be her husband.
“There was one photograph which was online where someone said that it was my husband’s body. And when I spoke to the Medical Examiner, that same photograph matched the location of where the Medical Examiner told me his body was found,” she said in the court document, reported The New York Times.
“Since viewing the photo, I've been tormented with thoughts of who took it and whether it depicts my husband,” said Ms Bryant. “It infuriates me that the people I trusted to protect the dignity of my husband and daughter abused their positions to obtain souvenirs of their deaths, as though possessing pictures of their remains somehow makes them special.”
She fears that trolls will circulate images of her husband and daughter at the wreckage, and her children will see them.
“For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen, either close-up photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening,” said Ms Bryant, who has stated that she is suffering “severe emotional distress”.
One of the photos was allegedly shown to a bartender at the Baja California Bar and Grill. Los Angeles County argues that showing a photo in this manner to a member of the public would be inappropriate, but is not an invasion of privacy.
“I feel sick at the thought that deputies and firefighters have gawked at photos of my husband's and child's bodies without any reason,” said Ms Bryant in her declaration. “I also feel extreme sadness and anger knowing that photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies were laughed about while shown at a bar and awards banquet.”
Ms Bryant is seeking damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, after first responders allegedly shared photos from the crash site.
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