Vanessa Bryant, the wife of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, named the deputies who allegedly shared photos of the helicopter crash scene from January 2020 that took the life of Kobe, their daughter Gianna and seven other people. An amended lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Vanessa which reveals the names of the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies. She then shared pages from the federal lawsuit she filed against LA County, the LA County Fire Department, the sheriff's department and four deputies: Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales.
Initially, the names were redacted when Bryant first filed suit in September. However, the judge ruled earlier this month they could be made public, which then led to county lawyers arguing that releasing the names could lead to online attacks.
Vanessa Bryant unloading the clip on IG. She posted the names of the officers who took photos of the helicopter crash. 👀 pic.twitter.com/8XgYzm5Rto— Tamantha 👸🏾 (@Tamantha_5) March 17, 2021
"According to the Sheriff's Department's subsequent investigatory report, one deputy, in particular, took between 25 and 100 photos of the crash scene on his personal cell phone, many of which had no conceivable investigatory purpose and were focused directly on the victims' remains," the court documents state, as reported by the New York Post. One of the deputies, Mejia, is accused of obtaining several photos of Kobe and Gianna's remains and sharing them with at least two people. He also allegedly sent the photos to Cruz and a female deputy "for no reason other than morbid gossip." Cruz allegedly shared the images of the remains with multiple people, including Russell. He is also accused of showing the photos to his niece and to a bartender in Norwalk, California.
"Shortly after seeing the photos, the bartender loudly boasted to restaurant employees and patrons that he had just seen a photo of Kobe Bryant's body and described the image in graphic detail," the filing reveals. Russell is accused of texting the images to a sheriff's deputy with whom he played video games. Versales allegedly obtained multiple photos of Bryant's remains stored him on his cellphone and shared them with several people in the department. Bryant is suing for invasion of privacy, negligence and a 14th Amendment violation.0comments