In response to the leaking of several images of the Kobe Bryant crash site, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill into law this week banning first responders from sharing crime scene photos off the job.
Specifically, the law would make it illegal for first responders to share an image of a deceased person “for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose.”
According to the Mercury News:
AB 2655 was first introduced by Assembly member Mike Gipson after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly shared graphic photos of the wreckage of the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others earlier this year. In a tweet celebrating the bill’s passage, Gipson called it the ‘Kobe Bryant Act of 2020.’
Earlier this month, Bryant’s widow Vanessa sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Alex Villanueva over the sharing of the images.
The day of the crash, family members gathered at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station where the sheriff assured them the crash site was secured. However, a leak from the department, according to the lawsuit obtained by CNN, led to TMZ breaking the news and fans flocked to the site.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company involved. Bryant’s lawsuit blasted the Sheriff’s Department and their deputies for “violating the sanctity of the victims.”
“But the biggest threat to the sanctity of the victims’ remains proved to be the Sheriff’s department itself,” as eight deputies “pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification,” the lawsuit says.
The “Kobe Bryant Act,” beginning in 2021, makes illegally sharing crime scene photos a misdemeanor crime punishable by a $1,000 fine per violation.