L.A. sheriff ordered deputies to delete photos of Kobe Bryant crash scene
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has ordered eight deputies who admitted being in possession of graphic photographs of the Kobe Bryant crash scene to delete all images of the site, according to a NBC Los Angeles report.
Disturbing allegations surfaced late last week indicating a source witnessed L.A. County deputies and other first responders on the scene two days after the crash discussing how images of the victims’ remains were being shared.
Subsequent reporting indicated two members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department took photos at the site where Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others — Christina Mauser; Payton and Sarah Chester; John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli; and pilot Ara Zobayan — perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26.
Villanueva confirmed Monday that a command was issued for any deputy in possession of said images to delete them immediately.
“That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist,” Villanueva said. “We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And, we’re content that those involved did that.”
Villanueva went on to condemn the dissemination of the images.
“We’ve communicated in no uncertain terms that the behavior is inexcusable,” Villanueva said. “I mean, people are grieving for the loss of their loved ones. To have that on top of what they’ve already gone through is unconscionable. And, to think any member of our department would be involved in that.”
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow and mother to Gianna, recently issued a statement denouncing the actions of those individuals who both took and subsequently shared said images, calling it an “unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families.”
Sadly, this situation was not the first instance in which arguably unethical actions have been committed that has denigrated the ongoing memorialization of the nine people who lost their lives.