Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, has published the names of LA County police officerswho she said shared graphic photos of the scene of her husband’s death in a helicopter crash last year.
The 38-year-old is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for negligence and invasion of privacy.
“We will refrain from trying this case in the media,” the sheriff said in response.
Kobe Bryant died with his daughter and seven others in the crash.
On March 17, Vanessa Bryant posted on Instagram the names of four sheriff’s deputies.
She says they took graphic pictures of the nine people who died in the crash close to Calabasas, California, in January 2020.
She alleges that one of the officers shared with a bartender photos of Kobe Bryant’s body and the others distributed “gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches”.
The Los Angeles Times reported in February 2020 that an internal police investigation found officers shared photos of victims’ remains.
Vanessa Bryant claims the pictures, including those of her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were taken and shared “for no reason other than morbid gossip”.
Last week a judge rejected an attempt to stop publication of the officer’s names, allowing Vanessa Bryant to disclose them.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded on Twitter to Vanessa Bryant’s post, saying that the department would wait for a court to decide the outcome of the case.
The widow of Kobe Bryant alleges that at least eight officers took pictures of the crash site for their personal use, and claims that one took between 25 and 100 photos.
Last month, safety investigators said the helicopter pilot, Ara Zobayan, may have become disoriented in fog before the aircraft smashed into a hillside.
The NTSFB said the main cause of the crash was most likely the pilot’s decision to keep flying in inclement conditions “which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control”.
As well as Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the pilot, those killed included two of Gianna’s basketball teammates, their relatives and a coach. The group were on their way to a tournament in Thousand Oaks where Kobe Bryant had been set to coach.