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Vanessa Bryant Names Deputies Who Passed Out Photos of Crash Site

(KTLA) Vanessa Bryant has publicly identified four Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies accused of sharing explicit photos of the Calabasas helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter and seven others.

Bryant released images of court documents on Instagram Wednesday revealing the names of four deputies: Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales. The four men are named defendants in a lawsuit filed by the widow of legendary Laker Kobe Bryant, along with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, County of L.A. and L.A. County Fire Department.

According to the court documents, the photos were widely shared among law enforcement authorities who had no reason to possess them for any investigatory purpose. The litigation describes the circulation of graphic photos of the victims’ bodies as a form of “morbid gossip.”

Cruz, who had no role in the investigation of the crash, allegedly showed the explicit photos to his niece as well as a bartender and customers at a restaurant in Norwalk, according to court records.

“Photos of the remains quickly spread within the Sheriff’s Department as deputies transmitted them to one another via text message and Airdrop,” read the court documents shared by Vanessa Bryant.

The images were shared so “casually,” the lawsuit states, that Versales could not even name the deputy who shared them with him.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled Vanessa Bryant could obtain the names of the four deputies after she filed a complaint to reveal their identities. She initially sued the Sheriff’s Department last September.

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