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California bill prompted by Bryant crash photos advances

California legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others would make it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.

Posted: Aug 31, 2020 3:16 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others would make it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.

The bill sponsored by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was approved by the state Assembly and Senate and was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for consideration, its author, Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson, said Monday.

Under the bill, a violation by a first responder could result in fines of up to $1,000 per offense.

After the Jan. 26 crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the others, reports surfaced that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, was “absolutely devastated” by the reports, her lawyer said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva subsequently told news media that eight deputies allegedly took or shared graphic photos of the scene and he ordered the images deleted.

The sheriff said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.

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