The Los Angeles County Fire Department is planning to terminate two firefighters and suspend a third for taking photos of the helicopter crash site where Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed.
The two firefighters were sent “intention to discharge” letters back in December after an internal investigation concluded they had taken photos of the victims’ remains in the helicopter debris that “served no business necessity” and “only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip,” Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers said in a document to support the delaying of the lawsuit trial.
The third firefighter, who was a media relations officer, was sent to the crash site to interact with the press. None of the three have been identified by name. Capt. Ron Haralson, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, refused to comment, citing the continuing litigation. He said that he could not confirm whether or not the firefighters had been terminated or disciplined.
Last January, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash while traveling to a basketball game in Thousand Oaks, California.
Vanessa first filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit in September against several deputies, firefighters and other officials for taking and sharing graphic photos of the remains of the helicopter crash, including those of her daughter and husband. One deputy reportedly flashed the gruesome photos to people at a local bar.
Last week, REVOLT reported that Los Angeles County believes Vanessa doesn't have “viable legal claims.” She believes the leaked images were an invasion of privacy — a claim that the County says contradicts California law. As the filing explains, images of the scene were shown to a bartender, not the internet or the media. California law says that “showing an accident site photograph to one member of the public cannot constitute an invasion of Plaintiff’s privacy.”