/  12.17.2020

The husband of one of the victims in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant is now suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over photos that were taken at the crash site. According to TMZ, Matthew Mauser — who lost his wife Christina in the accident — is suing the department for invasion of privacy, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and more.

Matthew claims that Sheriff Alex Villanueva failed to secure the crash site, which led to deputies taking and sharing unauthorized photos of the victims. Matthew says he and his three daughters have suffered emotional distress, humiliation and anxiety “from the realization that photographs of their mother and wife were wrongfully taken, shown and discussed.”

“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,” Matthew added in his lawsuit.

Matthew is now seeking unspecified damages in excess of $25,000 for the alleged negligence.

Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, filed a similar lawsuit against the department earlier this year. Eight deputies were previously found to have taken and shared unauthorized photos of the NBA legend, his daughter Gianna and the other victims. According to Vanessa’s lawsuit, one of the deputy’s possession of the photos was revealed after a bartender overheard him showing the pictures to a woman he was trying to impress.

“Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” her lawsuit read.

Vanessa also filed a separate lawsuit against Sheriff Villanueva, who she claims covered up the incident. The sheriff previously admitted to deleting the photos, which Vanessa believes was intended to destroy evidence.

In response to the controversy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom passed legislation in September that makes it illegal for first responders to take unauthorized photos of victims at a crash or crime scene.


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