Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NBC Los Angeles that he called for a total of eight deputies to delete the graphic photos of Kobe Bryant’s tragic helicopter crash so the photos wouldn’t leak out to the general public.
“That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist. We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And, we’re content that those involved did that.”
“We’ve communicated in certain terms that the behavior is inexcusable. I mean, people are grieving for the loss of their loved ones. To have that on top of what they’ve already gone through is unconscionable. And, to think any member of our department would be involved in that.”
It was The Los Angeles Times who first reported that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies who were linked to showing the photos were offered a deal to avoid discipline.
“The report suggested the deputies were told they would avoid punishment if they admitted their involvement in the photo scandal and deleted the pictures.”
Bryant’s widow Vanessa stated through her attorney that the deputies actions were inexcusable and deplorable for first responders to breach their duty.
“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” lawyer Gary C. Robb said in a statement.
“We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated,” Robb said.
Villanueva added that his focus was to contian the distribution of the graphic photos, rather than focus on punish those who were involved.
“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 some how made their way into the public domain. And that’s definitely what we do not want,” he said.
“The other step is I want to approach Sacramento and see if we can get a legislative remedy where we can make it a crime to take unauthorized photos of accident scenes that depict the remains of those deceased,” the sheriff said.
Kobe, Gianna Bryant as well as seven others tragically lost their lives aboard a helicopter that crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, California on a day where visibility was at a minimum due to the dense fog.
WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.