Firefighters who took pictures at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have been told they will be fired, court records have revealed.
Two firefighters who shared graphic images of the crash site with their colleagues and partners were issued with ‘intention to discharge’ letters in December, although it’s not clear whether they currently remain with the force.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department said it had also suspended a third officer from its media relations department over the incident.
The disclosure was made by lawyers for Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant and mother of Gianna, who was also killed in the crash, as part of an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Los Angeles County.
In the lawsuit, Bryant claims that a number of officials took and shared photos of dead bodies at the crash scene. NBC News reports that an internal investigation conducted by the fire department concluded that the firefighters had taken photos of bodies in the wreckage that ‘served no business necessity’ and ‘only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.’
In a statement following news that similar images were circulating among Sheriff’s deputies in the months after the crash, Vanessa Bryant’s lawyer called the actions ‘inexcusable and deplorable’ adding ‘this is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,’ per the LA Times.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in September last year, at least 66 county employees were aware of the images, while 18 were directly involved in either taking or sharing them. One Sheriff’s deputy reportedly showed the images to people at a bar.
LA County attorneys are arguing that Bryant’s privacy was not invaded as the images never became public.
Nine people died in the crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26 2020.