Photos taken of the remains of Kobe Bryant and other victims from the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the Lakers legend were shared by a Los Angeles County firefighter at an awards ceremony a month after the accident.
Back in September 2020, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the L.A. County Sheriff and his department, saying she endured severe emotional distress after deputies took graphic cellphone photos of her husband and daughter Gianna Bryant’s bodies at the helicopter crash site.
As reported by CNN, the second day of the trial, which took place on Friday, was highlighted by the testimony of Luella Weireter, a former paramedic and wife of a Los Angeles firefighter.
According to Weireter, L.A. fire captain Tony Imbrenda shared gruesome photos from the crash during a cocktail hour at the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California’s Golden Mike awards in February 2020.
According to her testimony, a small group of people gathered around Imbrenda to look at the photos, while the fire captain’s wife invited Weireter to check them out.
“She was like, excited, trying to get us to come and look at them,” Weireter told the courtroom. “She said it multiple times.”
Weireter added that she overheard another Los Angeles County Fire Captain make a joke about the horrid images. “I can’t believe I just looked at Kobe’s burnt up body and now I’m about to eat,” he said, according to Weireter.
The county addressed the accusations of shared photos in a brief filed before trial. “There is no evidence that county employees have a ‘persistent and widespread’ practice of sharing ‘death images’ within LASD or LACFD,” the county’s stated earlier this month. “This was the first time LASD or LACFD confronted allegations of improper photo sharing, and they took appropriate action. Every action was aimed at preventing harm, not causing it.”
The trial is expected to last about two weeks, with Vanessa Bryant seeking undisclosed damages and claiming civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress and violation of privacy.