Ms Bryant, who is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for invasion of privacy and negligence, said during a deposition that while she was informed about the crash through a family assistant, she was not aware that her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna had died.
“I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe’,” Ms Bryant said, according to BBC.
Ms Bryant said that before seeing the notifications on her phone, she thought that her husband and daughter were among the survivors of the crash.
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were on their way to a girls’ basketball game on 26 January 2020, when their chopper crashed in the hills of West Los Angeles amid foggy weather.
Ms Bryant said in her deposition: “My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter.”
In her suit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Ms Bryant said officials circulated graphic images of the crash site and the victims’ remains.
Ms Bryant added that she specifically pleaded with Sheriff Alex Villanueva to ensure that no one took photos at the crash site.
Ms Bryant’s lawsuit alleges that first responders at the site shared the photos with a bartender and others passed around “gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents and coaches,” reported AP.
The Los Angeles Times reported that an internal investigation by the sheriff’s department found that officers had shared photos of the crash site.
Ms Bryant said that she has suffered severe emotional distress that has added to the trauma of losing her husband and daughter.
According to reports, LA County officials want Ms Bryant to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if she has actually suffered emotional distress due to the circulation of the graphic images.
“I don’t think it’s fair that I’m here today having to fight for accountability,” Ms Bryant said. “Because no one should ever have to endure this type of pain and fear of their family members. The pictures getting released, this is not okay,” she added in her deposition.
Prompted by the crash, California Governor Gavin Newsom last year approved a legislation that makes taking unauthorised photos of deceased at accident or crime sites a crime.
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