Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed last year when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in Southern California as a result of pilot error in bad weather. Now, multiple firefighters may lose their jobs for taking and sharing graphic photos of the crash site.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa, has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County alleging invasion of privacy, according to court documents obtained by ESPN. Bryant's attorneys wrote that the photos "only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip."
Two firefighters who arrived on the scene last January took photos of the crash. They later sent them to another firefighter and also shared the pictures with friends and family at a gathering later that year. As of now, it's unclear whether they are still with the department, but two firefighters have been sent "intention to discharge" letters, per court documents.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
A spokesperson for the fire department refused to comment. Meanwhile, lawyers for the county are arguing that Bryant's lawsuit should be dismissed because the photos were not shared publicly.
Bryant's lawsuit also includes allegations against multiple Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies for disseminating photos of the crash site. Earlier this year, Bryant won the right to release their names and detailed her efforts in a lengthy post on Instagram. L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has since criticized the deputies and ordered the photos to be deleted.
In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill into law banning first responders from taking unauthorized photos of accidents and crime scenes. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, and makes it "a misdemeanor for a first responder, as defined, who responds to the scene of an accident or crime to capture the photographic image of a deceased person for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose or a genuine public interest."