REPORT: California enacts new law after Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
California has approved a new law, which is prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and eight others. The new enactment makes it a crime for the first responders of a crime or accident scene to take unauthorized photos of deceased people.
As reported by the Associated Press via ESPN, the law will take effect on January 1, 2021.
The measure, which will take effect Jan. 1, makes it a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 per offense to take such photos for anything other than official law enforcement purposes.
After the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, reports revealed that the first responders to the scene took unauthorized photos of the bodies. The said people then reportedly shared the graphic photos to show off or impress their peers.
Eight deputies were accused of taking and sharing these graphic photos of the Lakers star and the other victims. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that he quickly identified those involved and ordered the photos to be deleted. He added that his department has a policy against the actions of the eight deputies, but it does not apply to accident scenes.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the Lakers icon, sued the department nonetheless.
“This lawsuit is about accountability and about preventing this disgraceful behavior from happening to other families in the future who have suffered loss,” Vanessa’s attorney, Luis Li, said in a statement. “The department formally refused Mrs. Bryant’s requests for information, saying it was ‘unable to assist’ with any inquiry and had no legal obligation to do so. It’s now for a court to tell the department what its obligations are.
Vanessa also sued the company, Island Express, that owns and operates the helicopter that crashed.