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Report: LASD Sued over Alleged Shared Photos from Scene of Kobe Bryant's Death

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 17, 2020

Fans of Kobe Bryant mourn in front of his image at the LALive area across from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, after word of the Lakers star's death in a helicopter crash, in downtown Los Angeles Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Hartman)
Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is being sued over allegations it allowed people to take photos at the scene of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people. 

Per TMZ Sports, Matthew Mauser alleges that Sheriff Alex Villanueva "did a poor job securing the area in the wake of the crash, which led to emergency responders taking unauthorized photos of the tragic scene" and sharing them "with people who had no involvement in the investigation."

Mauser's wife, Christina, was among the people who died in the crash. She was an assistant coach on the Mamba girls' basketball team that Gianna Bryant, Bryant's daughter who also died in the crash, played for. 

"These facts show that Sheriff Villanueva had a special duty to ensure that the scene of the crash was given the highest caliber security his department could employ," Mauser's lawsuit states.

Alene Tchekmedyian and Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times reported in February there was concern in an oversight group that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department was sharing "graphic photos" from the scene of the crash. 

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that one trainee deputy "took photos and at some point went to a bar and, as one source put it, 'He tried to impress a girl by showing her the photos.'"

Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's department in May for emotional distress and mental anguish stemming from deputies taking graphic photos from the scene and sharing them. 

TMZ noted that Mauser is suing for "invasion of privacy, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress."

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