A judge ruled Monday that the names of four Los Angeles County Sheriff Department deputies who allegedly took or exchanged gruesome photos of the scene of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash would be released to his wife, Vanessa Bryant.
According to court records, attorneys for the LASD and Los Angeles County tried to keep the deputies’ names and ranks hidden because “hackers may attempt to seek out and gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them.”
In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter stated that this is “totally inconsistent with their position that such photographs no longer exist.”
Last month, Bryant demanded that the sheriff’s department release the deputies’ names involved in the photo-sharing, claiming that they must be held responsible.
Bryant wrote on Instagram, “The Sheriff’s Department wants to redact the names of the deputies that took and/or shared photos of my husband, daughter and other victims.” She added, “Anyone else facing allegations would be unprotected, named, and released to the public…These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had verified that all pictures of the crash in the hands of those deputies had been removed before Monday’s decision.
Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li, said in a statement to CNN that he was pleased with the judge’s decision “Transparency promotes accountability. We look forward to presenting Mrs. Bryant’s case in open Court.”