Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among the nine people killed in a January 2020 helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. Now, according to ESPN, two Los Angeles County firefighters could be fired while a third firefighter could be suspended after it was discovered they’d allegedly taken and shared graphic photos from the crash site.
The names of the two firefighters who stand to be fired have not been released, but an internal investigation found the two had taken photos of the bodies that “served no business necessity” and “only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip,” according to Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys.
According to the investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the two sent the photos to the third firefighter — a media relations officer — who shared the photos with off-duty firefighters and their wives and girlfriends.
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It’s reported that two of the firefighters were sent “intention to discharge” letters in December, and the third firefighter was sent an “intention to suspend” letter. As of Wednesday, the status of the three firefighters employment was not known.
The court documents were filed Monday as part of the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, against Los Angeles County.
Several Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are included in the lawsuit for allegedly taking or sharing the photos with family and friends. The deputies also reportedly showed the photos to a bar patron and a bartender, who later filed a complaint with the sheriff’s department.
The lawsuit alleges that according to a Sheriff’s Department investigatory report, one deputy took 25 to 100 photos on his personal cell phone and that at least eight deputies took photos at the site of the crash.
In March, a California federal judge ruled that Bryant could obtain the names of the sheriff’s deputies who allegedly shared the crash site photos. Bryant later shared the names of the deputies on Instagram.
As reported by The Daily Wire, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been accused of attempting to cover up the actions of the Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies. Villanueva admitted to ordering deputies to delete photos of the crash due to concern that they would be leaked to the public or to the media.
“Had we done the original, usual routine, which was relieve everybody of duty and everybody lawyers up and all that, that would increase the odds 10-fold that those photos would have somehow made their way into the public domain,” Villanueva told NBC News in March 2020. “And that’s definitely what we do not want.”
Bryant will be inducted into the Class of 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.