Eight Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are facing administrative action after reportedly taking or sharing graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, but in an outrageous twist, Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said that his officers did not break any rules, according to reports.
First responders are not restricted from taking photos of an accident scene with their own cell phones, however, the eight accused deputies were ordered to delete the images and have been placed under an internal investigation, Daily Mail noted. It is unclear what type of disciplinary action the deputies could face because they did not violate the law despite the repulsiveness of their actions.
Bryant's widow Vanessa called for "the harshest possible discipline" upon learning that the photos may have been circulated to people outside of the investigation.
"This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families," read a statement issued by Vanessa's legal representative, Gary C. Robb, which was posted to Instagram.
One deputy was accused of showing the horrific images at a bar, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Villanueva said he was "horrified" by the ordeal
"I just felt betrayed by my own deputies 'cause it's such a hard thing to do as a first responder, go to a scene of such a horrific accident, talking to the families, three families that were there at the Lost Hills station, personally, and their concerns about privacy, and how we could make the day better for them if any way possible. And to have this happen, it was heartbreaking," he said, according to KTTV.
Villanueva is now hoping state law will change the department's lax policies allowing first responders to take photographs with their personal cell phones by rendering it illegal for any unauthorized graphic images to be snapped at accident scenes.
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