CM – Villanueva does not regret asking MPs to get rid of photos of Kobe Bryant crash – Cameroon Magazine

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that after discovering that some of his deputies had shared footage of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others last year, he realized the “photos never see the light of day”.

In a deposition with lawyers for Vanessa Bryant, who is suing the county and four MPs who have been investigated for sharing photos of the January 2020 crash, Villanueva said he was keeping his promise to the widow from the Lakers star that no one would see the photos of her husband and daughter Gianna’s remains.

Villanueva said last week that under the same circumstances he would again ask MPs to dispose of the photos to ensure the grisly images do not reach the public. He said it was his intention for the photos to be deleted, although he never used the word.

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In her lawsuit, Bryant says she suffered severe emotional distress after learning deputies and firefighters shared footage of the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, Gianna and seven others. on their way to a tournament. Although a judge ruled that she would not have to undergo a psychiatric assessment as part of the trial, she was ordered to turn over the therapy records to the county.

Bryant’s attorneys are calling for so-called spoliation penalties against the county, arguing that because the Sheriff’s Department and the LA County Fire Department did not order employees to keep records on their phones. Information that could be used as evidence, Bryant was denied the opportunity to find out who the crash scene footage was shared with before the devices were cleaned up.

County attorneys, led by outside attorney Skip Miller, argue the deaths are what caused Bryant’s distress, not the photos. Miller on Tuesday pushed back lawyers for Bryant, arguing that there was no basis for his trial.

“The county went to great lengths to ensure that there was no public release of photos of the crash site,” Miller said. “And as the Complainant herself acknowledged, these efforts were successful. “

Villanueva gave the order to dispose of the footage immediately after learning of a January 29 citizen complaint about an MP who posted photos on his cell phone at a bar in Norwalk, three days after the deadly accident. A Los Angeles Times investigation in March found lawmakers shared the grim images of the scene.

The photos were also shared internally and by a fire captain who showed them on his phone during an awards cocktail party.

“I can tell you,” Villanueva said under oath. “The problem was that images were coming out and harming families. I make decisions based on the immediate threat, which is the harm these images can cause to the family.

“If I had to do it again, I would probably make the exact same decision,” he said.

In his own testimony in the case, Bryant said he told Villanueva, “If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, make sure no one takes a picture of them. Please secure the area.

The sheriff said keeping that promise to Bryant was his first thought when he asked MPs “to make this happen” – not the potential for litigation.

“I am not making a decision based on the fact that I could be sued [in] six months, ”Villanueva said.

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Matthew Mauser will receive $ 1.25 million and siblings JJ Altobelli and Alexis Altobelli will share an additional $ 1.25 million.

“It’s a simple mathematical equation. Exponential. Every day, each person is more than they can be exposed. For two people, sharing one time becomes four people, which becomes eight, which becomes 16. And the more time goes by, that number gets bigger and bigger, ”he said. “And as it is, what we’re able to do, we can cut it out and… make sure none of those photos ever saw the light of day, which was exactly my intention, because I didn’t didn’t want to hurt these people.

The sheriff said in making the decision he recalled a fatal accident in San Diego in which gruesome images of a young woman who had been beheaded were referred to as a “Porsche Girl.” Photos of this scene were shared by a California Highway Patrol officer.

Villanueva said he did not expect legal action to be filed in the Bryant case because, unlike San Diego, the footage had not spread on social media.

Still, the sheriff apologized. “I would really like the chance to apologize to her for… any harm or inconvenience caused by members of my department. “

Villanueva said having the photos was not a crime at the time, although that changed in September 2020 when scandal-born legislation banned peace officers and other first responders from taking unauthorized photographs of people who died at a crime scene. or accidental.

Because there was no criminal offense at the time, the photos could not be seized, so voluntary compliance was the only way to secure the images, the sheriff said. Supervisors checked the cellphones of MPs involved in the incident to make sure they had deleted the photos, Villanueva said.

An internal investigation found 28 deputies and the same number of devices with images of the crash scene on government or personal electronic devices, according to the deposition.

The sheriff also told Bryant’s attorneys that if the deputies who shared the photos “became clear” about who had seen the photos and that the images in their possession were properly disposed of, they met the conditions for “amnesty” and no were not subject to discipline.

Richard Winton is an investigative writer for the Los Angeles Times and part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2011. Known as @lacrimes on Twitter, for 25 years at The Times he has also is part of the latest news. staff who won the Pulitzers in 1998, 2004 and 2016.

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CM – Villanueva does not regret asking MPs to get rid of photos of Kobe Bryant crash – Cameroon Magazine