Vanessa Bryant sues LA sheriff over helicopter crash photos

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FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo, Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles. Bryant on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff claiming negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress after deputies allegedly shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff claiming deputies shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others.

After the Jan. 26 crash, reports surfaced that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Vanessa Bryant was devastated by the reports, her lawyer said.

The suit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously told news media that eight deputies took or shared graphic photos of the scene and he ordered the images deleted. The sheriff said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.

The sheriff’s department did not immediately have a comment Tuesday.

Bryant previously filed a claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit was filed Thursday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet signed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime. The legislation was prompted by the crash photos.

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