Vanessa Bryant 'devastated' by allegation deputies shared crash site photos

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa, is "absolutely devastated" by a report that sheriff's deputies may have shared graphic photos of the site of helicopter crash that killed the NBA legend and eight others, her representatives said Sunday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday it was investigating a Los Angeles Times report that deputies may have shared images showing human remains in the days after the January 26 crash in the hills west of Los Angeles.

A statement written by Gary Robb, an attorney representing Vanessa Bryant, and posted on her Instagram page, said she specifically asked sheriff's officials on the day of the crash to declare the area a no-fly zone to guard against photographers trying to cash in on the accident.

"This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families," the statement said. "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."

Sharing of photos of the crash site, where the Bryants' 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also among the victims, "is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families," the statement said, adding that Bryant and her lawyers were requesting a sheriff's department internal investigation into the allegations.

The Los Angeles Times report on Thursday said it was unclear how many people may have seen the photos or whether deputies had captured the images at the scene or received them from someone else.

The entertainment news website reported Friday that the allegations first surfaced after a complaint.

TMZ, quoting unidentified law enforcement sources, said a trainee sheriff's deputy at the crash site had taken photos on a smart phone and was subsequently overheard by a bartender showing the images to a customer in a bar. The bartender then lodged a complaint, TMZ reported.