Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies Who Shared Photos of Kobe Bryant Crash Scene Were Named
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Four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were publicly named for allegedly sharing unauthorized photos taken of the helicopter crash site that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers filed an amended complaint to the federal court back in February, adding the four deputies’ names sharing the unauthorized photos.
A Los Angeles federal judge ruled against attorneys last week who said the names should remain private due to the risk of exposing their personal information.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted in response to Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit.
“We will refrain from trying this case in the media and will wait for the appropriate venue. Our hearts go out to all the families affected by this tragedy.”
The lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant added deputies Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales as defendants, alongside the county sheriffs and fire departments.
According to the documents, Mejia received photos of the victim’s bodies from fire department personnel that responded to the crash.
Mejia allegedly saved the photos to his personal cell phone.
He reportedly sent the photos of Bryant’s remains to a female deputy controlling traffic near the crash site after telling her about the crash scene.
Mejia then sent the photos to Cruz, who shared them with “multiple people,” including public members.
Cruz sent the photos to Deputy Russell’s personal phone after telling him he saw the crash scene.
Cruz showed the photos to a bartender at Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk that same day.
According to the lawsuit, Cruz was seen on the bar security footage zooming in and out of the images, showing Kobe Bryant’s remains.
After learning about the complaint filed, the four deputies destroyed the evidence by deleting their phones’ photos.
Bryant is continuing to seek damages for negligence and invasion of privacy.