The firefighters who shared unauthorized and graphic photographs of the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others could be fired.
NBC News Los Angeles reports, according to court documents, the Los Angeles County Fire Department “planned to terminate the employment of two firefighters and suspend a third.” The court docs were filed on May 11 by Vanessa Bryant for a federal lawsuit for invasion of privacy against Los Angeles County.
In December, the two firefighters were sent "intention to discharge" letters that concluded they had taken photos of the dead bodies in the helicopter wreckage that "served no business necessity" and "only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.”
It’s not clear if the unnamed firefighters have been terminated.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Capt. Ron Haralson, declined to comment, according to NBC News Los Angeles.
In September, Bryant filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff and his department due to leaked photos of the crash.
In March, according to NBC News, Bryant called out the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for not releasing the names of the deputies, writing in her Instagram stories, "They want their names to be exempt from the public. Anyone else facing these allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public."
She also added, "Kobe's name was released when he was accused in 2003. Why should sheriffs get away with hiding? #doublestandard"
Vanessa Bryant is referring to when Kobe was accused of rape in 2003, which became an international story.
In March of 2021, Vanessa Bryant publicly released the names of the officers but the names were not made public from the May 11 filing.
In March 2020, the Times reported that deputies were asked to delete any photos of the incident after the Department received a complaint that an official with the Sheriff’s Department was showing photos at a bar. The L.A. Sheriff's Department has been accused of having a long history of sharing photos from investigations involving celebrities, including the 2009 attack on singer Rihanna by her then-boyfriend, performer Chris Brown.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)