Amid an ongoing investigation into the alleged leak of crash scene photos from deputies at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Vanessa Bryant — widow of late Lakers star, Kobe Bryant — has issued a statement via Instagram through her lawyer, Gary Robb. While Bryant is "absolutely devastated" at the public dissemination of photos from the site of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed Kobe, their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant and seven others, Bryant is "grateful" to the individual who filed the complaint against the department.
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"Mrs. Bryant is grateful to the individual who filed an online complaint exposing these acts of injustice, and for the choice to protect human dignity," the statement read.
While TMZ alleges the source was a bartender who overheard the conversation and filed an online complaint, the agency is also reporting that the Sheriff's Department knew about this leak for almost three weeks, with the deputy trainee in question showing the photos off to a woman in a bar, just days after the crash.
In the statement posted by Kobe's widow, Robb states his client personally went to the Sheriff's office on the day of the crash, requesting that the area be "designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers."
This was obviously not the case as the Los Angeles Times reported a "public safety source with knowledge of the events" had allegedly seen one of the photos on the phone of another official amid a setting not related to the investigation of the crash. The source reported photos shared showed graphic images of the scene and the remains of victims.
Bryant's statement goes on to cite how the privacy of such photographs was of "critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families."
It was also noted that the time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured all measures would be put in place to "protect the families' privacy," with the statement adding how it is through that understanding that they believed such requests would be honored.
"First responders should be trustworthy. It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff's substation, other surrounding substations and LAFD would allegedly breach their duty," the statement read. "This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families."
Bryant goes on to state how she is "demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated."
An Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents is also being recommended.
It is unclear if Bryant will seek legal action against the department just yet, but she is already suing the helicopter company responsible for flying her husband, their daughter and seven others. In the 76-page lawsuit, Bryant argues that the aircraft was unsafe, as it lacked a Terrain Awareness and Warning System and should not have been permitted to fly in dire weather conditions.0comments
She is also seeking damages for the "pain and anguish" her husband and daughter could have potentially suffered amid the crash.
Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images