Eight deputies in Los Angeles County could be disciplined in connection with photos they took at the scene of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash. They allegedly shared the sensitive photos before they were deleted. This ignorant abuse of the public trust will be addressed so it doesn’t happen again.
Deputies abused the public trust
Sheriff Alex Villanueva was “shocked” to learn that eight of his deputies “betrayed” him by sharing sensitive photos of Basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were killed along with seven others in a tragic helicopter crash.
“I personally apologized on behalf of the poor conduct of our employees and we want to make things right. We don’t want to extend or increase anybody’s anguish.” Police officers and other first responders must have the trust of the public to keep private matters private.
A member of the public called the sheriff to describe a conversation at a bar they overheard. A trainee deputy “claimed to have photos from the accident scene.”
As soon as he learned that the photos existed, Villanueva ordered them immediately deleted. “That was my No. 1 priority,” he insists. “We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own.”
The officers “admitted they had taken them.” he’s convinced they deleted them. “At least two LA County Fire Department firefighters also took photos of the crash scene.”
First responders should be trustworthy
An attorney representing Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant, Gary Robb, called the photos inexcusable. “First responders should be trustworthy.
It is inexcusable and deplorable that some deputies… 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.”
Kobe’s widow 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.”
To address the issue in the future, Villanueva will change the policies to “be more specific.” They want Sacramento to “make it illegal to take photos of crime scenes that displays human remains.”