In a series of Instagram posts, Vanessa Bryant revealed the names of the four Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who allegedly took or shared gruesome photos of the crash site that killed her husband, Kobe, their daughter Gianna, and seven others.
According to CNN, the posts were of an amended complaint. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U. S. District Court in Los Angeles that named deputies Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell, and Raul Versales as the defendants, in addition to Los Angeles County, its sheriff, and fire departments.
It seeks damages, claiming negligence and invasion of privacy.
The lawsuit alleges Joey Cruz “boasted that he had worked at the scene of the accident where Kobe Bryant had died” and showed photos of the crash site to a bartender and a bar patron on January 28, 2020 —two days after the crash.
In addition to the complaint, Cruz also showed the photos of the Bryants’ remains to his niece on the same day.
The complaint states that the bartender who saw the grisly photos then shared with other patrons that he had seen the images and “described specific characteristics of Mr. Bryant’s remains.”
One of the customers found this situation “very, very disturbing” and emailed a complaint to the sheriff’s department and described the responsible deputy.
Another deputy, Michael Russell, allegedly shared photos with a friend with whom he “plays video games nightly,” the complaint said.
Earlier this month, Vanessa Bryant won her case to disclose the names of the deputies allegedly involved.
According to court documents, attorneys for the LASD and Los Angeles County wanted to keep the deputies’ names and ranks undisclosed, arguing that “hackers may attempt to seek out and gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them.”
In February, Vanessa had called the sheriff’s department to release the names of the deputies, saying they must be held accountable.
“Mrs. Bryant looks forward to presenting her case in open court,” Vanessa Bryant’s attorney Luis Li told CNN.
As of this writing, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We respect the judge’s decision,” the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs President Ron Hernandez said in a statement. “Our main concern is for the privacy of all parties involved.”
“Recommended Video For You!
Off-Duty Deputy Sings National Anthem In An Empty Courthouse