Vanessa Bryant is “absolutely devastated” by reports that deputies shared photos of the helicopter crash that killed husband Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gianna, her lawyer said in a statement.
Her lawyer, Gary C. Robb, alleges that Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials were responsible for the photo sharing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Robb also requested an internal investigation and the “harshest possible discipline” for those involved.
“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” he said in the statement.
According to Robb, Bryant went to the sheriff’s office following the Jan. 26 crash, which claimed the lives of nine people, to designate the mountainous area a “no-fly zone” and guard it 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 honour those requests,” Robb continued, according to CBS News.
An investigation has since been launched inside the sheriff’s department after a Los Angeles Times report said deputies were sharing graphic images of the scene.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department told CBS that a review of reports that firefighters also shared images was underway.
Another law enforcement source confirmed to CBS Los Angeles that photos of the crime scene were shared.
Two public safety sources, according to the Times, said the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department ordered officials to delete any photos of the crash scene. A citizen reportedly complained that a deputy was showing gruesome images at a Norwalk bar.
Instead of triggering a formal inquiry, guilty deputies were ordered to report to the Los Hills station, come clean and delete the photos to avoid discipline.
Some sources told the L.A. Times that they felt deleting the photos would be considered destruction of evidence.