Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
In an emotional declaration, Vanessa Bryant said she lives in constant fear of crash photos surfacing.
“This conduct has caused me tremendous pain and distress,” Bryant said in the declaration.Advertisement
Bryant said that Google sometimes auto-suggests “Kobe Bryant crash pictures” and “Kobe Bryant body.”
In a new declaration submitted by Vanessa Bryant in her case against LA County, Bryant said she felt “sick” and “extreme sadness and anger,” when she learned that officers had taken and shared photos from her husband and daughter’s helicopter crash site.
“This conduct has caused me tremendous pain and distress,” Bryant said in the declaration, which accompanied a motion filed in opposition to the County’s request to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that photos were permanently deleted.
“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,” Bryant said: “I imagine Kobe watching over what occurred at that crash scene, and I am overcome with anger and emotion.”
“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 an awards banquet,” Bryant wrote.
In September of last year, Vanessa Bryant sued Los Angeles County, its fire department, sheriff’s department, and eight individual sheriff’s officers following reports that first responders took and shared photos of the gruesome crash site where Kobe and her daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant and seven others died in January 2020.
Bryant sued the County for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of her right to privacy.
In November, LA County attorneys argued that photos of the former NBA superstar’s helicopter crash were deleted by employees and can’t be recovered. The defendants asked for a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit based on findings from an independent forensic examiner who reviewed over 20 LASD and LACFD devices and reportedly found no crash site photos.
In her declaration, Bryant said she does not buy the County’s reasoning to dismiss the lawsuit.
“In this lawsuit, the County seems to argue that a deputy texting photos of my husband and daughter’s bodies to a video game buddy who works for the Sheriff’s Department is somehow less bad than sharing photos with a member of the public.” Bryant said. “To me, the pain is the same.”
“They [digital photos] can be stored, backed up, and shared in countless ways — sometimes even inadvertently,” Bryant wrote, referencing cloud storage systems like iCloud or trails through social media direct messages.
“When typing ‘Kobe’ into search functions to look for something related to my husband online, search features sometimes auto-suggest ‘Kobe Bryant crash pictures’ and ‘Kobe Bryant body.'” she added.
In the filing, Bryant claimed that she has seen one photo purporting to show Kobe Bryant’s remains and that she’s “been tormented with thoughts of who took it and whether it depicts my husband.”
“One day, such as when my girls are assigned to research their family tree for a school project, I do not want them searching my husband’s and daughter’s names to discover photos of their remains,” Bryant added. “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.”
Insider reached out to attorneys representing LA County and Vanessa Bryant for additional comment.
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