Written By @cabbagepatchgrl
Vanessa Bryant is firing back at Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva after he challenged NBA superstar LeBron James to match reward money to anyone who had information about the shootings of the two deputies in Compton, California this past weekend.
Bryant posted a series of screenshots, tweets, and articles to her Instagram story blasting Villanueva and calling out his department for graphic photos that were leaked after the tragic helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna, and seven others back in January.
Bryant even shared a few tweets from @ElanMaree, who questioned the validity of comments that Villanueva made to reporters on Monday regarding the criminal justice system.
California-based Crime reporter, Stefanie Dazio, shared a video clip of Villanueva urging athletes, elected officials, and civil leaders to stress the importance of having trust in the criminal justice system, rather than “fanning the flames of hatred.”
In a quoted tweet, @ElanMaree asked, “How can he talk about trusting the system?” “His sheriff’s department could not be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene; his deputies took and shared photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
In another post, Bryant shared an article from Hollywood Reporter that showed that the Union for deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were suing Villanueva to keep the internal affairs investigation for the distribution of the photos private.
Bryant even filed a claim against Villanueva’s office back in May.
“No fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” the claim read.” The department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”
Screenshots provided by Bryant from lakersnation.com also showed that there was a potential cover-up attempt by Villanueva, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Bryant’s response came after Villanueva’s Monday interview with John Phillips on KABC Radio, where he said, “this challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match and double that reward.” “I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed an interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community,” he added. “I appreciated that,” he continued. “But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”
The reward money had reached $175,000, with a combination of donations of $100,000 from the county and $75,000 from two private individuals.
Lebron James has been one of the most vocal professional athletes on social injustice and police misconduct. Recently, James said Black people in America are “terrified” of police. His comments came after Jacob Blake was shot multiple times by officers last month, leaving him paralyzed.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America,” he said.” Black men, Black women, Black Kids, we are terrified.”
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone, please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted,” he added in a tweet.” This s— [sic] is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family, and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE,” James said.
There has been no immediate response from James on the sheriff’s challenge.
But, Bryant shared a tweet from @ElanMaree saying,” Villanueva should not be challenging James to “step up to the plate” because the sheriff “couldn’t even ‘step up to the plate’ and hold his deputies accountable for photographing dead children.” She then tagged the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Instagram account to a photo of the eight who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash, including her husband and daughter.
Lastly, Bryant posted a quote from the City of Angels’ Democratic Mayor, Eric Garcetti. “Not all deputies are bad apples. Prayers for the two deputies that were shot,” she wrote.