Who Shared The Kobe Bryant Crash Photo? Why An LAPD Deputy Is In Hot Water Over The Tragic Viral Photo

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Who Shared The Kobe Bryant Crash Photo? Why An LAPD Deputy Is In Hot Water Over The Tragic Viral Photo
Entertainment And News

The death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a terrifying helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, sent shock waves through the world. Seen as a tragedy on many levels, the crash, which is still under investigation as of this writing, is viewed as one whose impact will most likely be felt for generations to come. 

But now, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office is currently under investigation thanks to a very serious charge: Who shared the Kobe Bryant crash photo that went viral in the first place?

RELATED: Kobe Bryant's Last Words: His Final Text To His Manager Newly Revealed​

Let's look at what we know. 

1. Who shared the Kobe Bryant crash photo? Reportedly, it was a deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office. 

Sources close to the LA County Sheriff's Office said that one of the deputies from their office shared the Kobe Bryant crash photo without permission of the Bryant family, and before an investigation into the crash was concluded. What's more, Sheriff Alex Villanueva refused to comment about how the deputy in question allegedly got the photo, which had been shared around with several other deputies before it was finally reported to the department heads. 

2. The Kobe Bryant crash photo was reportedly on the phone of one such deputy, who shared it outside the context of the investigation. 

According to one report, the guilty deputy was sharing the photo from his phone, though it was unclear if he took the photo himself or if he got it from another source. Even worse, the guilty deputy was allegedly sharing the photos while in a bar, in order to impress a woman he was trying to "pick up" for the evening. The bartender who was serving on the deputy witnessed this and, in a fit of outrage, filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, on their website.

3. This is not the first time that the LA County Sheriff's Office has shared sensitive photos and videos.

The unauthorized sharing of the Kobe Bryant crash photo was far from the first time the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office came under fire for sharing sensitive photos and videos outside of the context of an investigation. The office came under fire when one deputy shared the video of Mel Gibson's infamous anti-Semitic tirade and another sheriff was fired when he shared a photo of Rihanna after she was beat up by Chris Brown without authorization. 

RELATED: Who Are Kobe Bryant's Sisters? Kobe's Estranged Siblings Feuding With Wife Vanessa Bryant​

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4. The deputies were ordered to delete the photos immediately or face reprimand. 

Before the Kobe Bryant crash photo snafu went to the press, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office higher-ups allegedly told the guilty deputy to simply admit his involvement and delete the photos in order to avoid reprimand or termination. However, the Office had no comment regarding the matter, except to say that the incident was "regrettable" and "completely unprofessional."

5. The matter is still under investigation. 

As of this writing, the Sheriff's office is still investigating the matter of the unauthorized sharing of the Kobe Bryant crash photo. It's unclear, however, what sort of disciplinary action the guilty deputy in question could face — if any at all.

6. Vanessa Bryant released a statement about the unauthorized sharing of the Kobe Bryant crash photo.

"Our client, Vanessa Bryant, is absolutely devastated by allegations that deputies from the Lost Hills Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site," she said, in part, in a statement which can be seen in its entirety below. 

 

CORRECTED: The department at issue is the Los Angeles County Fire Dept (LACoFD) NOT the LAFD KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(repost: BUSINESS WIRE)--Statement From Gary C. Robb, Legal Counsel on Behalf of His Client, Vanessa Bryant: Our client, Vanessa Bryant, is absolutely devastated by allegations that deputies from the Lost Hills Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site. Mrs. Bryant personally went to the Sheriff’s office on January 26th and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers. This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests. First responders should be trustworthy. It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, other surrounding substations and LACOFD would allegedly breach their duty. This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families. We are 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. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents. 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. We ask that anyone else who has information as to the facts underlying these alleged grievous and shameful incidents contact our office at 816–474-8080 or email via www.robbrobb.com

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Our thoughts are with Kobe Bryant's family during this continued difficult time.

Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.