CNN

Vanessa Bryant wins case to obtain names of deputies who allegedly took photos of crash site

Mar 9, 2021, 6:40 AM
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketba...
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

    (CNN) — The names of four Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) deputies who allegedly took or shared grisly photos of the scene of the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant will be released to his wife Vanessa Bryant, a judge ruled Monday.

Attorneys for the LASD and Los Angeles County wanted to keep the deputies’ names and ranks sealed, arguing that “hackers may attempt to seek out and gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them,” according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter said in a ruling on Monday that this is “totally inconsistent with their position that such photographs no longer exist.”

Bryant last month called for the sheriff’s department to release the names of the deputies involved in the photo sharing, saying they must be held accountable.

“The Sheriff’s Department wants to redact the names of the deputies that took and/or shared photos of my husband, daughter and other victims,” Bryant wrote in a statement posted on Instagram. “Anyone else facing allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public. … These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else.”

Prior to Monday’s ruling, Sheriff Alex Villanueva had confirmed that all photos of the crash that were in the possession of those deputies have been deleted.

Bryant’s attorney Luis Li welcomed the judge’s ruling Monday night, telling CNN in a statement, “Transparency promotes accountability. We look forward to presenting Mrs. Bryant’s case in open Court.”

Photos from scene shared

Kobe Bryant, his daughter 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people died when the helicopter they were in crashed near Calabasas as it headed to a youth basketball game on a foggy morning on January 26, 2020.

After concluding their investigation last month, the National Transportation Safety Board said Island Express charter pilot Ara Zobayan pushed the limits of bad weather flying rules, climbed into clouds, became disoriented about the helicopter’s position relative to the horizon, and made a descending left turn into a cloud-obscured hillside.

In February of 2020, the LASD said it was “deeply disturbed” over a report that deputies shared photographs from the scene of the crash, CNN previously reported.

Following the crash, Bryant has not only advocated for the release of the deputies’ names, but urged Congress to pass a new helicopter safety bill named for her husband and daughter.

She also filed the civil claim against the LASD and Sheriff Villanueva for the photo leak in September, seeking undisclosed damages to remedy civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress, and violation of privacy.

On the day of the crash, family members gathered at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station where the sheriff assured them the crash site was secured. However, a leak from the department, according to the lawsuit obtained by CNN, led to TMZ breaking the news and fans flocked to the area.

The sheriff’s department said at the time it does not comment on pending litigation.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

...
Jeff Zeleny, Eva McKend and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Georgia voters once again have the last word during election season

During a campaign rally for Warnock in Atlanta last week, former President Barack Obama stressed the immediate impact of Democrats potentially winning a 51st Senate seat.
2 days ago
This photos shows the gate to the Duke Energy West End substation in Moore County, N.C. on Sunday, ...
Nouran Salahieh and Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

Tens of thousands still in the dark after ‘targeted’ attacks on North Carolina power substations

With no suspects or motive announced, the FBI joins the investigation into power outages in a North Carolina county.
2 days ago
Man who shot Lady Gaga's dog walker...
Taylor Romine and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Man involved in shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker sentenced to prison

The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was walking Lady Gaga's three French bulldogs on February 24, 2021 when he was accosted and shot.
2 days ago
goblin mode...
Christian Edwards, CNN

‘Goblin mode’ chosen as Oxford word of the year for 2022

According to OUP, the term refers to a behavior which is "self-indulgent, lazy, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations."
3 days ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  The U.S. Capitol is shown as a looming government shutdown threatens ...
Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Defense bill likely to include end to military Covid vaccine mandate, source says

A massive bill setting defense policy is likely to end the military Covid vaccine mandate, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CNN.
3 days ago
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03:  Actress Kirstie Alley attends the "Kirstie" premiere party at Harlow o...
Dan Heching, Amy Simonson and Taylor Romine, CNN

Kirstie Alley, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Veronica’s Closet’ star, dead at 71

Actress Kirstie Alley has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children announced on social media.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Vanessa Bryant wins case to obtain names of deputies who allegedly took photos of crash site