Bryant says she learned a month later that photos of their remains existed, and deputies, firefighters were reportedly showing them to people.
Vanessa Bryant has filed a declaration in response to a motion by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to have her lawsuit against them dismissed.
TMZ obtained a copy of the documents in which Bryant claims she specifically asked Sheriff Alex Villanueva to ensure that no photos would be taken of her deceased husband, NBA icon Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, after the two and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
Vanessa Bryant speaks on behalf of her late spouse, Class of 2020 inductee Kobe Bryant, during the 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in May at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
“If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them,” Bryant said in her deposition, as previously reported by the Associated Press. “And he said: ‘I will.’ And I said: ‘No, I need you to get on the phone right now, and I need you to make sure you secure the area.’”
In her response, Bryant says she learned a month later that there were photos of her husband and child’s remains, and that several sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were showing them to people. She said hearing that the photos existed sent her into a “constant cycle of distress,” and that despite assurances that the photos had been secured and scrubbed, she has doubts.
“It infuriates me that the people I trusted to protect the dignity of my husband and daughter abused their positions to obtain souvenirs of their deaths, as though possessing pictures of their remains somehow makes them special. I imagine Kobe watching over what occurred at that crash scene, and I am overcome by anger and emotion,” Bryant maintains.
“I feel sick at the thought that deputies and firefighters have gawked at photos of my husband’s and child’s bodies without any reason,” she added. “I also feel extreme sadness and anger knowing that photos of my husband’s and daughter’s bodies were laughed about while shown at a bar and awards banquet.”
She noted that she constantly worries that the photos will emerge and that Google prompts “Kobe Bryant body” when she types in his name. Furthermore, she says she has been approached by trolls who claim they have copies of the photos and will release them.
The widow concluded her statement by saying, “For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen: either close-up photos of my husband’s and daughter’s bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening.”
Bryant filed a federal lawsuit against the county, alleging invasion of privacy. County officials attempted to have her undergo a psychiatric evaluation to assess the level of her emotional distress, but a judge rejected that motion last month.
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