Vanessa Bryant lives in constant fear that the photos of Kobe and Gianna Bryant's remains, which were taken and shared by Los Angeles County employees, will be shared with the public.
As part of her ongoing lawsuit against Los Angeles County, Bryant recently filed a six-page declaration, stating that she is tormented over the possibility the unauthorized photos of her late husband and daughter's helicopter crash site "will go viral online."
"Since viewing the photo, I've been tormented with thoughts of who took it and whether it depicts my husband," she wrote, per TMZ. "It infuriates me that the people I trusted to protect the dignity of my husband and daughter abused their positions to obtain souvenirs of their deaths, as though possessing pictures of their remains somehow makes them special. I imagine Kobe watching over what occurred at that crash scene, and I am overcome by anger and emotion."
Bryant initially filed a lawsuit against L.A. County in September 2020 after finding that members of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department took unauthorized photos of the crash site and showed them to individuals outside of the department.
"... I feel sick at the thought that deputies and firefighters have gawked at photos of my husband's and child's bodies without any reason," Bryant explained in her recent filing. "I also feel extreme sadness and anger knowing that photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies were laughed about while shown at a bar and awards banquet."
Bryant additionally noted that online trolls have threatened to release the photos of her loved ones to the public.
"For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen: either close-up photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening," she shared.
Bryant's latest filing came after the County filed a motion to have the case thrown out, claiming the photos taken by the deputies and firefighters had been deleted.
"In this lawsuit, the County seems to argue that a deputy texting photos of my husband and daughter's bodies to a video game buddy who works for the Sheriff's Department is somehow less bad than sharing photos with a member of the public." Bryant wrote. "To me, the pain is the same. [... Digital photos] can be stored, backed up, and shared in countless ways — sometimes even inadvertently."
Elsewhere in the documents, Bryant wrote that she asked Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on the day of the crash, January 26, 2020, to secure the crash site and not allow anyone to take photographs of what was left behind, TMZ reported.
"If you can't bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them," she said she told the Sheriff.
According to USA Today, Bryant's lawyers claim that "Villanueva's order amounted to the destruction of evidence and hindered further examination into the actions of first responders." L.A. County, however, claims that "Villanueva was following through on what he said to Bryant and attempted to minimize further exposure of the photos."