Vanessa Bryant, widow of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over photos taken at the site of a January helicopter crash that left nine people dead, including her husband and 13-year-old daughter.
Bryant had filed a claim against the department earlier this year for allegedly sharing photos of the crash scene. The claim was a precursor to the lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles, NBC reports.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It names the county, sheriff's department and Villanueva as defendants.
The lawsuit describes events in the crash aftermath, when Vanessa Bryant and family members gathered at the LA County Sheriff’s station in Lost Hills. She was told by Sheriff Alex Villanueva that deputies were securing the crash site, where onlookers had been gathering, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states "that no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.”
In March, the department's civilian oversight panel—at Villanueva's urging—agreed to examine the agency's policies on taking photographs at crime and accident scenes in response to the controversy.