LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two Los Angeles County firefighters may lose their jobs for sharing photos of the scene of the January 2020 helicopter crash which killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.
ESPN obtained court documents filed Monday by Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, as part of her ongoing federal invasion of privacy lawsuit against Los Angeles County.
The documents purportedly detail an internal investigation conducted by the L.A. County Fire Department which allegedly determined that two firefighters took photos of the bodies, which they sent to a third firefighter who worked in the department’s media relations office, ESPN reports.
The two firefighters also allegedly shared the images with others at a fire department awards ceremony at a Hilton hotel a month after the crash, according to the documents obtained by ESPN.
The two firefighters in question received letters from the LACFD in December stating that the department intended to fire them. The third firefighter received a letter stating that he would be suspended.
It’s unclear what the employment status of the three firefighters was as of Wednesday.
Vanessa Bryant filed a federal lawsuit in September of 2020, alleging that several L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies had taken photos of the crash site. The lawsuit alleges there has been no accountability, no formal investigation and no disciplinary action against the deputies.
Also in September of 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that makes it a misdemeanor for first responders to take and share accident and crime scene photos for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose or a genuine public interest.
On the morning of Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in the Calabasas hills amid heavy fog.