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Eight deputies took illicit photos at scene of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash, sheriff says

Photos have been deleted
Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 03, 2020

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office says it's conducting an investigation into eight deputies that allegedly took and shared photos from the scene of the helicopter accident that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others.

In an interview with KTTV-TV in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that eight deputies took unauthorized photos at the scene of the crash.

The deputies — five full-time deputies and three reservists — have since deleted all the photos from their phones.

According to The Los Angeles Times, some legal experts and LACSO officials believe Villanueva's order to delete the photos may constitute destruction of evidence — an attempt to cover up the scandal.

It's unclear if the deputies will face disciplinary action.

Villanueva told KTTV that he was "horrified" that his deputies took the photos.

"It's such a hard thing to do as a first responder, go to a scene of such a horrific accident, talking to the families, three families that were there at the Lost Hills station, personally, and their concerns about privacy, and how we could make the day better for them if any way possible. And to have this happen, it was heartbreaking," Villanueva told KTTV.

Only National Transportation Safety Board members and the coroner's office were authorized to take photos of the scene.

KTTV reports that while the deputies cannot face legal charges for taking the photos, members of the LACSO plan to lobby lawmakers in Sacramento to adopt legislation to make such a violation a crime.