Kobe Bryant Act of 2020 Signed Into Law by Newsom
Kobe Bryant's crash site photos prompted California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign into law the Kobe Bryant Act of 2020, a bill that would prohibit first responders from taking photos of dead victims outside of their job duties.
The Kobe Bryant Act of 2020 came following reports that deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who responded to the crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others, had taken photos of the crash site in Calabasas and had shared them.
The reports also said that the deputies had taken graphic photos of the remains of the Los Angeles Lakers legend, his daughter, and the other victims.
The Kobe Bryant Act of 2020 or the AB2655 pushed by Assemblyman Mike Gipson of Carson, was signed by Newsom on Monday. Violation of this new law will result in a misdemeanor.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, claimed that shortly after the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter, she personally spoke to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, requesting the crash site to be secured for their family's privacy.
However, Vanessa learned of the photos being taken and shared when the Los Angeles Times reported about it. Her legal team said that she was devastated.
At that time, Villanueva had told reporters that only the country coroner's office and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were allowed to take Bryant's crash site photos.
Villanueva had also said then that the department has a policy against the taking and sharing of crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.
The L.A. County sheriff also pointed out that he had been the one who sponsored the new bill that Newsom had signed into law. He had responded to the signing by posting on his social media account and thanking Newsom for signing the bill.
However, last week, Bryant's widow filed a lawsuit against the County Sheriff Department over the unauthorized taking and sharing of Bryant's crash site photos.
The lawsuit stated that Villanueva had attempted to cover-up the mishandling of Bryant's crash site photos by going to the substation and telling the deputies that they would not have to face discipline if they delete the images that they had taken.
According to Luis Li, the lead attorney on the case, Bryant's widow's lawsuit is about accountability and preventing what the deputies did from doing it to other families in the future.
The lawsuit also said that instead of telling the deputies to delete Bryant's crash site's photos, Villanueva should have ordered an investigation on the incident.
The absence of a formal investigation had put Bryant's widow in distress, and she is living in fear that she and her daughters will be confronted by Bryant's crash site photos one day.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for invasion of her right to privacy, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to the mishandling of Bryant's crash site photos.
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