Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, applauded a federal judge’s decision Monday that would allow her to see the names of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who allegedly leaked photos of the site where her husband, daughter and several others were killed in a helicopter crash in 2020.
U.S. District Judge John Walter’s ruling allowed Vanessa Bryant to add the deputies’ names and the results of an internal probe against them to her civil lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the sheriff’s department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Walter wrote in his ruling: “Indeed where the case involves allegations of police misconduct, the public has a vested interest in assessing the truthfulness of the allegations of official misconduct, and whether agencies that are responsible for investigating and adjudicating complaints of misconduct have acted properly and wisely.”
Vanessa Bryant shared a photo of the LA Times’ headline on Instagram.
“Thank you Judge John F. Walter, Luis Li , Brad Brian and @latimes,” she captioned the photo.
Walter recognized that the deputies would potentially be prone to attacks online, according to the paper.
“Although the Court recognizes that this case has been the subject of public scrutiny and media attention and that the Deputy Defendants are legitimately concerned that they will encounter vitriol and social media attacks, such concerns, by themselves, are not sufficient to outweigh the public’s strong interest in access,” the ruling said.
Bryant alleged in the suit that first responders took unauthorized photos of the crash site where her husband, daughter and others died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas. In the last few months, she has asked media outlets to avoid publishing photos of the scene.