Vanessa Bryant names 4 LASD deputies who shared photos of helicopter crash scene

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant's widow is naming four members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who allegedly shared gruesome pictures from the site of the January 2020 crash that killed her husband and daughter and seven others.

A judge recently ruled that Vanessa Bryant could obtain those names and share them publicly.

Deputies Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell, and Raul Versales are now named in Bryant's lawsuit against Los Angeles County.

The complaint alleged the defendants abused their power and took photos from the scene - including the remains of Kobe and Gianna Bryant - and shared the photos among other members of the sheriff's department and the public.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva late Wednesday tweeted a brief response to the release of information from Vanessa Bryant: "We will refrain from trying this case in the media and will wait for the appropriate venue. Our hearts go out to all the families affected by this tragedy."

The sheriff's department strongly fought the release of the names.

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others died Jan. 26, 2020, when the Sikorsky S-76B they were in crashed onto a hillside in Calabasas.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the crash found that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, became disoriented while flying in thick fog. Zobayan also did not follow training and violated visual flight rules, the investigation found.
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