Vanessa Bryant has called on the Los Angeles deputies who leaked photos of helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe and their 13-year-old daughter to be publicly identified.
Bryant took to her Instagram stories on Saturday to rip the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which she filed a lawsuit against in September for taking and leaking photos of the crash.
‘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. They want their names to be exempt from the public,’ Bryant posted.
‘Anyone else facing allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public.’
She continued: ‘Not all law enforcement is bad. These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else. #doublestandard.’
Bryant’s widow Vanessa, left, respond to Wood’s tweet more than a year later claiming it had just come to her attention
Vanessa Bryant, 38, took to Instagram on Saturday to rip the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for taking pictures of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter
An NTSB official inspects the remains of a helicopter which crashed near Calabasa, California, on January 26, 2020, killing retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna
Bryant filed a lawsuit against the department in September for taking and leaking photos of the crash
Last year, Bryant filed a lawsuit seeking damages for negligence and invasion of privacy, alleging county employees showed gruesome photos taken from the scene where Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant died, as well as seven other people.
The NBA legend and his daughter Gianna were on their way to her basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas on January 29, 2020, sparking memorials and murals across the country.
Last week, Bryant’s lawyers filed an amended complaint in federal court that added four deputies and the Los Angeles County Fire Department to her civil rights lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The deputies’ names however were redacted in Bryant’s filing, pending the court’s decision on whether the complaint should be sealed.
Lawyers for the county hope to keep the names of the deputies private over fears their could be targeted by hackers, the outlet reported.
‘Not sealing the Deputy Defendants’ names increases the risk that hackers will seek out and try to gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them to the public. Plaintiff should want to [seal] for this same reason,’ the county’s lawyers wrote, according to the Los Angeles Times.
An internal affairs report from the Sheriff’s Department found that one of the deputies took 25 to 100 photos at the scene which spread quickly in the 48 hours after the crash.
One deputy and several firefighters were accused of taking pictures of the crash on personal phones, according to the lawsuit obtained by the L.A. Times.
However, it remains unclear if it was images taken by the deputy that were repeatedly shared, the outlet reported.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has ordered the department to destroy the photos to prevent them from becoming public and has repeatedly said they did not publicly spread because of the action he took, the outlet reported.
According to the lawsuit, a deputy trainee who received multiple photos of Bryant’s remains showed pictures of a girl’s body and another of the basketball star to his niece, as well as a woman and a Norwalk bartender.
A bill that was proposed after Kobe’s death and signed into law in September prohibits first responders from snapping unauthorized photos of dead people at scenes involving crimes or accidents.
On Saturday, Bryant also slammed actress Evan Rachel Wood as ‘vile and disturbing’ more than a year after the actress called him a ‘rapist’ just hours after he died.
Wood, 33, had tweeted: ‘What has happened is tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.’
Vanessa Bryant, 38, took to her Instagram Stories to respond to the Westworld actress, noting that the tweet had just come to her attention.
Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood, 33, had slammed Kobe Bryant as a ‘rapist’ on the day he died
Vanessa Bryant called Wood’s tweet ‘false’ and ‘defamatory,’ adding the actress did not ‘know the facts of the case’
Bryant also thanks actress Kyla Pratt for condemning actress Evan Rachel Wood after she called Kobe a ‘rapist’ in a since deleted tweet
Evan Rachel Wood had tweeted that Kobe ‘was a sports hero’ and a ‘rapist’ just hours after he died
‘Your false, insensitive, defamatory and slanderous tweet on 1/26/20 is vile and disturbing to say the least,’ Bryant posted.
‘Behavior like this is part of the reason why innocent black men go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. An accusation doesn’t make someone guilty.’
She added: ‘YOU DON’T KNOW THE FACTS OF THE CASE.’
Vanessa sent the same message to film producer Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded The Walt Disney Company with her great-uncle Walt Disney.
‘The man was a rapist. Deal with it,’ Disney tweeted at the time.
Fans immediately came to Kobe’s defense in 2020 after Wood’s tweet, including Dr. Dolittle actress Kayla Pratt.
‘Evan. We met as kids & I grew up in the same industry as you and have admired your work from afar these past few years. On camera and off. But this tweet? How f**king dare you?’ Pratt tweeted.
Shortly after receiving backlash last year for her Kobe tweet, Wood said her post was ‘not a condemnation or a celebration’ of the athlete and his death, E! Online reported.
She wrote that her tweet was ‘a reminder that everyone will have different feelings and there is room for us all to grieve together instead of fighting. Everyone has lost. Everyone will be triggered, so please show kindness and respect to all.’
Wood later deleted both tweets after more online criticism, the outlet reported.
Kobe, left, is pictured with Vanessa Bryant who sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in September after deputies leaked photos of the helicopter crash that killed him
Kobe Bryant, right, is pictured with his daughter Gianna Bryant, who also died in the crash
The actress has not yet publicly commented on Bryant’s post, but she has since posted to her own Instagram Stories with a screenshot of a tweet from marketing executive Steven Bartlett criticizing the social media platform.
‘Instagram has ruined a whole generations expectations of relationships, work, and everything in between. It has made ‘perfect’ look normal. So now ‘good’ has become disposable,’ reads Bartlett’s tweet, posted by Wood.
A 19-year-old employee of a hotel in Colorado accused Kobe of sexual assault in 2003 but the charges were dropped when she declined to testify.
The woman, who worked at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, accused Kobe of raping her and causing bruising to her neck. Bryant denied raping her and insisted sex with the woman was consensual.
Prosecutors dropped the charges after she declined to testify. She later filed a civil case against the Los Angeles Lakers, which settled with her out of court in 2005.
Wood, a rape survivor, has no known personal connection to Kobe but came forward earlier this month with allegations she was groomed and abused for years by her ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson.