Amid a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department for emotional distress, Vanessa Bryant has recalled how she learned of the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna Bryant. On October 12, Bryant gave a deposition for the aforementioned case. The transcript was filed in court on October 22 and obtained by E! News.
The mother of four recalled that on January 26, 2020, at 11:30 am she received a knock on the door by the family assistant who said there was an accident with five survivors, but did not know if Kobe and Gianna were okay. TMZ had broken the story of the athlete’s death at roughly the same time.
Bryant attempted to call her husband before calling her mother. “As soon as I was on the phone with my mom, I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back,” Bryant testified, “and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe.'”
At the time authorities could not disclose any information over the phone. Bryant had then picked up her eldest daughter, Natalia, before the family assistant drove them to the local airport where Bryant demanded to be flown to the crash site. A pilot refused, citing bad weather. The pair were then driven to Malibu police station by Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka.
The 39-year-old is suing the department, claiming first responders captured and shared unauthorised photos of the human remains at the crash site.
“If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them,” Brant requested at the time. “Please secure the area.”
The Los Angeles county responded to the lawsuit which was first filed in May, stating, “The county does not condone this showing of accident site photographs and has taken corrective personnel actions accordingly. That does not mean, however, that plaintiff has viable legal claims. The two seminal cases involve public dissemination of pictures of human remains, and that did not occur here. The photographs were not given to the media and were not posted on the internet. They were not publicly disseminated.”
Bryant admitted she has not seen the images but fears they could be leaked in the future. “Emotional distress means that not only do I have to grieve the loss of my husband and child, but for the rest of my life I’m going to have to fear that those photographs of my husband and child will be leaked,” she added in the deposition.
In June Bryant settled another lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters for wrongful death. The court found that the late pilot Ara Zobayan was negligent in flying under unsuitable weather conditions.