Vanessa Bryant calls on deputies who shared Kobe Bryant crash photos to be ID'd publicly




  • In US
  • 2021-02-28 18:35:12Z
  • By NBC News
 

Vanessa Bryant, widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, called on the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to identify deputies who shared photos of the crash that killed her husband and 13-year-old daughter.

Vanessa Bryant, who is suing the department over the issue, posted a statement to her Instagram stories Saturday saying that the department wants to redact the names of deputies. She called it a double standard and said that the deputies must be held accountable "just like everyone else "

"They want their names to be exempt from the public," she wrote. "Anyone else facing these allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public."

Bryant referenced the sexual assault allegation against Kobe Bryant, writing, "Kobe's name was released when he was accused in 2003. Why should sheriffs get away with hiding? #doublestandard"

A lawsuit filed last year alleged that county employees "showed off" photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna Bryant following the tragic helicopter crash that killed them and seven others. The father and daughter were on their way to Gianna's basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, on the morning of January 29, 2020, when the helicopter went down.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NBC News last year that he was horrified upon learning that deputies shared photos of the crash and ordered them to be deleted.

"We identified the deputies involved," Villanueva said. "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."

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News Sunday.

Vanessa Bryant posted Instagram stories defending her late husband's legacy from those who called the NBA legend a "rapist" on social media following his death, which appears to be the double standard she referred to in her statement about the deputies.

She posted a more than year old tweet from "Westworld" actress Evan Rachel Wood that she said had just been brought to her attention. Wood acknowledges the crash as "tragic" and calls Kobe Bryant a sports hero in the tweet before saying he was "also a rapist."

Vanessa Bryant called the tweet "false," "defamatory," and "vile." "Behavior like this is part of the reason why innocent black men go to jail for crimes they didn't commit," she wrote. "An accusation doesn't make someone guilty. YOU DON'T KNOW THE FACTS OF THE CASE."

Wood's Twitter account has since been deactivated. An attorney for the actress did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Kobe Bryant was accused in 2003 of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado, where he was staying for surgery. He admitted to having had sex with the woman but insisted that it had been consensual.

Kobe Bryant was charged with rape, but the case was dropped after the accuser declined to testify in court. His accuser later filed a lawsuit against him and they settled out of court.

Wood has been an outspoken advocate against sexual violence and recently alleged that she was "horrifically" abused by her ex-partner, musician Marilyn Manson.

Wood also testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee in 2018 on her experiences with domestic and sexual violence. Though she did not publicly name her abusers, she recounted being raped two times: first by an abusive partner and then by a man in the storage closet of a bar.

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