Vanessa Bryant shares 'disturbing' allegations against police

Yahoo Sports Staff
·3-min read
Vanessa Bryant has made public disturbing allegations against four Los Angeles police officers who are claimed to have taken and shared disturbing images of the aftermath of the helicopter crash which claimed the life of her husband Kobe and seven others. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Vanessa Bryant has made public disturbing allegations against four Los Angeles police officers who are claimed to have taken and shared disturbing images of the aftermath of the helicopter crash which claimed the life of her husband Kobe and seven others. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Vanessa Bryant named four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies who allegedly took and shared unauthorised graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna and seven others.

Bryant posted images of lawsuit documents she filed against Los Angeles County, the sheriff’s department, the county fire department and the four deputies in question. Those names were initially redacted while a judge determined whether they could be revealed, a decision that went in her favour earlier this month.

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The screenshots included the names of the four deputies and some disturbing allegations about what those deputies did with the photos of the crash victims.

Bryant shared several photos of the lawsuit to her Instagram, including the front page of the lawsuit that listed the defendant names in full.

A second part of the lawsuit she shared included allegations that one deputy, officer Joey Cruz, showed photos of the accident to a bartender.

Cruz allegedly "boasted" to a bartender at the Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk, California, two days after the crash photos that he had responded to the crash and allegedly showed photos of the accident that he took.

The bartender then reportedly approached another table of guests at the restaurant and explained what had happened, something one of the customers described as “very, very disturbing.”

That customer filed an official complaint with the Sheriff’s department while sitting in his car after leaving the restaurant, as it “did not sit well with [him] at all.”

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Shocking allegations levelled against officers in Kobe Bryant crash

Cruz is also accused of showing the photos to his niece — he allegedly made "a crude remark about the state of the victims' remains" before doing so — and to another bar patron, something he is seen zooming in on in security camera footage at the bar.

Another officer, Deputy Michael Russell, allegedly sent photos to a friend he "plays video games nightly" with.

Bryant’s lawsuit alleged that within 48 hours of the crash, photos had spread to at least 10 members of the department.

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant are pictured at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant are pictured at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

It also claims that one deputy in particular had taken between 25 and 100 photos of the crash scene on his personal cell phone.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, according to the lawsuit, allegedly called those deputies who had taken the photos into his office, and said that if they deleted the photos that they would not face discipline.

He also reportedly didn’t tell internal affairs about the breach of privacy, and no investigation was started until news of the photos was made public.

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