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New California Law Prompted By the Tragic Kobe Bryant Accident

December 30, 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA - According to, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, approved new legislation making it illegal for first responders to take unofficial photographs of people who have been killed in a crime or accident.  The release of unofficial pictures of the victims' bodies in the tragic Kobe Bryant helicopter accident inspired the legislature to craft the new law.

When the tragedy occurred, news reports asserting that graphic photographs of the victims, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter, were being shared on the Internet.  The news alleged that eight Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies took and shared unofficial and graphic photos of the helicopter accident scene.  Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County Sheriff, stated that when he heard of the horrific behavior concerning first responders, he ordered his deputies to delete all of the images.  

Sheriff Villanueva also stated that the  Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office already had a policy in place that banned the "taking and sharing crime scene photos."  However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office did not have a policy that banned taking unofficial photographs of accident scenes.

The new law that goes into effect January 1, 2021, makes it illegal to take unofficial accident scene photos, a misdemeanor punishable with fine of up to $1,000 per offense. 

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, recently filed a civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office alleging eight deputies took and shared unauthorized photographs of her husband, their daughter, and seven other victims killed in the helicopter accident.  The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.  

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Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.