Vanessa Bryant sobbed in a courtroom in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Her attorney shared how sheriff's deputies and firefighters shared photos of the dismembered bodies of her late husband Kobe Bryant and her daughter Gianna. explained whatdied in a helicopter crash in 2020.
The 40-year-old widow wore a tight-fitting black suit and still wore a band on her left ring finger. The court heard during her deposition that one attorney even called her loved ones "meat piles."
"January 26, 2020 will always be the worst day of Vanessa Bryant's life," Bryant's attorney, Lewis Lee, told jurors in her opening statement. rice field. "County officials explored and took pictures as souvenirs. They poured salt into the unbearable wounds."
Bryant's federal invasion of privacy lawsuit began on Wednesday in federal court, more than two years after he was murdered along with his daughter and seven others. A helicopter crashes in Calabasas.
She is seeking unspecified damages in a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles. , shared by at least 12 firefighters. Some of them "performed amputation pantomimes in bars, showed off, and pitched their photos like trophies" while sipping cocktails at awards ceremonies, Bryant's lawsuit alleges.
Li said one of the crash scene response agents walked around the wreckage and closed the dismembered body parts of the NBA legend.
A lieutenant took a firefighter to the crash site where he identified a possible body part and the firefighter took a picture. Lee said. In a court deposition, Det. Scott Miller said the photos were sent to him and he asked his wife if she wanted to see the horrific pictures. But she said no.
"I told her she had a pile of meat," Miller said in an interview, then laughed out loud at the recording.
Vanessa Bryant was deeply depressed after hearing her vulgar comments.
Miller went on to say that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and others in his department were accused of sharing the photos with the bar and family members. Villanueva denied he knew the complaint had been filed with his department.
Lee said a man at a bar in Norco, Calif. happened to see Deputy Joey Cruz sharing a photo on his iPhone with a bartender. Lee played a video of the encounter, showing the bartender grimacing in shock as he looked at his phone screen and backed off.
After a while, I saw Cruz laughing at the bar. A man who witnessed Cruz sharing the photo reported it to the sheriff's office, he said.
Around the same time, the county firefighter's wife also reported to fire officials that multiple first responders were sharing and discussing graphic crash photos at the award ceremony.
Capt. Matthew Vander Hoch emailed his superiors about the complaint and said he would consider an investigation, Lee said. But the Sheriff's Department intervened and stopped the investigation, Vander Horch said in a deposition.
The sheriff's deputy was told to erase everything on his phone and buy a new one, the attorney claimed.
One month after his accident, Mr. Villanueva was questioned about reports that his representatives were sharing photos. The sheriff said it was not uncommon for sheriffs to take pictures of corpses at incidents and collect them as mementos for the "book of death."
In another video, Villanueva Clarified that only coroners and National Transportation Safety Board officials should be permitted to photograph incidents of this type for investigative purposes only, and no one else.
"When this kind of behavior is tolerated, it creates a culture of callousness," Li told a jury selected onWednesday.
Attorneys representing Los Angeles County wrote in the trial summary that there was no evidence that the images were shared publicly.
Judge John Walter of the United States District CourtIt consolidated the lawsuit into a similar claim filed by Orange County financial adviser Chris Chester, who lost his wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Peyton. , in an accident.
Chester, too, had trouble keeping his cool as Chester's attorney, Jerry Jackson, described the horrific way his wife was discovered by first responders.
According to Jackson, Sarah and Peyton's bodies were found in a ravine 100 feet from the main crash site. Sarah's torso was slit at the waist, and her guts, pubic area, colon, fallopian tubes, and intestines were scattered throughout the canyon and surrounding bush.
Some of the photos shared by sheriffs and firefighters contained scenes of violence, Jackson said.
"For Mr. Chester's darkest words, he thought that someday, somewhere, somehow, those responsible... would face justice," Jackson said. "Today is the day."
Jackson said his devastated father struggled to cope with the deaths of his wife and daughter and at one point turned to drinking.
City News Judge Walter said the trial will take about a week and will be divided into two stages, according to the Service.
Phase 1 of the trial will address Bryant's federal allegations that the taking and distribution of photographs by county officials violates constitutional rights. State law claims are discussed in the second stage.