LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County is seeking to compel psychological evaluations for Kobe Bryant’s widow and others to determine whether they actually experienced emotional distress when first responders reported their lives in the 2020s. Took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say.
Vanessa Bryant, whose federal lawsuit against the county alleges invasion of privacy, claimed in court papers that she experienced “severe emotional distress” that exacerbated the trauma of losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Have given.
Kobe Bryant and others were killed on January 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were on board for a girls’ basketball tournament crashed into the hills west of Los Angeles amid foggy weather. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit contends first responders, including firefighters and sheriff’s representatives, shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed out “unnecessary photos of dead children, parents and coaches.” The Los Angeles Times was the first to report that a sheriff’s department internal investigation found that the deputy had shared photos of victims’ remains.
The suit argues that none of the first responders were directly involved in the accident investigation or had a legitimate purpose to take or pass up horrific photos. Gavin Newsom last year approved a law inspired by the helicopter crash, which makes it an offense for first responders to take unauthorized photographs of dead people at the site of an accident or crime.
“Ms. Bryant feels sick at the thought of strangers staring at images of her dead husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day encounter terrifying images of their loved ones online,” the court documents. Having said.
Los Angeles County attorneys want the court to order Bryant and other family members of those killed in the crash, including children, to undergo psychiatric evaluation as an independent medical examination. Lawyers propose that the assessment be audio and video-recorded and take eight hours for adults and four to six hours for children.
The county argues that while families have “undoubtedly suffered serious distress and trauma from the accident and the loss of their loved ones as a result, their distress was not caused by (first responders) or photographs of an accident site that were ever publicly available.” were not broadcast.”
LA County lawyers wrote in court papers that such psychiatric examinations are “necessary to evaluate the nature and extent” of the families’ alleged injuries.
Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant said in a filing Friday that the county is resorting to a “scorched-earth search strategy” designed to threaten her and other victims’ family members to “skip the pursuit of accountability.” Has been done.
Lawyers for Los Angeles County said in a statement to the Associated Press on Monday that the county has “great sympathy” for Bryant’s loss.
“It’s horrible, the worst imaginable,” he said in the statement. “But he sued the county which nothing happened. There has been no public disclosure of the crash site photos, none. So we see this case as a money grab and to defend his client Joe.” He is necessary.”
Bryant’s lawyers declined to immediately comment on Monday afternoon.