In her testimony on Friday, Vanessa Bryant claimed that the widespread use of crash scene images is to blame for her panic attacks.
Bryant is suing the Los Angeles County government for disseminating images of the helicopter crash in January 2020.
Her husband Kobe and their daughter Gigi perished in the collision.
Vanessa Bryant testified on Friday that the release of graphic images from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter made her feel “helpless” and “disgusted,” and that she now experiences panic attacks.
Bryant, who was testifying in a federal court in downtown Los Angeles while wearing only black, often broke down in tears as she described the moment she discovered that first responders were sharing images of the incident that featured human remains.
Both her husband, basketball player Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gigi, 13, perished in the Calabasas collision in January 2020.
Bryant and her surviving daughters, along with basketball player Pau Gasol and his family, were in the game room in their Newport Beach home when word spread that the pictures were being shared by the local police and others.
Sheriff’s deputies shared “graphic images” in the days after the incident, as the Los Angeles Times reported a month later.
Bryant testified on the stand, “I rushed to the side of the house and broke down; I wanted to flee and scream.” It was similar to wanting to jump from a pier and into the water but being unable to do so due to my physical limitations.
Bryant stated that she thought she had two options following the leak: “attempt to live my life or end it.”
Bryant is bringing a claim against the Los Angeles County itself, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, and the Los Angeles Fire Department.
In earlier evidence, a regular person and a bartender said that a deputy had exhibited photos of the crash site while intoxicated; the images had also been given to firefighters at an awards ceremony.
Bryant stated in her evidence on Friday that she felt “helpless, outraged, and disgusted” that others were staring at the images of the dead bodies of her loved ones. She talked of getting threats on social media, including a direct message with the wording “Ima leak Kobe’s dead boy” with the flame and helicopter emojis.
She testified that Bryant still experiences panic episodes.
Bryant remarked, “The grief is from their loss. “Those photographs are the cause of the worry and anxiety.”
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