A new California bill is prohibiting the release of such photos following the tragic helicopter crash that resulted in the death of legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other victims, graphic images of the crime scene leaked online.
The images have spawned the “Invasion of Privacy: First Responders” bill, by Assembly member Mike Gipso. It was taken by first responders and shared with colleagues, friends and online users by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Although it has not yet passed, should it become law, the charge carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told his staffers to remove the content from their personal devices after the photos leaked in late February, which left Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and the other victims’ families outraged. The Sheriff also issued a public statement days later. He said, “We’ve communicated in no uncertain 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.”
Along with Villanueva’s statement, Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Gary C. Robb released one of his own. He stated, “This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families. 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.”