A federal judge ruled in favor of Vanessa Bryant’s request to obtain the names of L.A. Sheriff’s deputies who took and shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s fatal 2020 helicopter crash.
Judge John F. Walter said the defendants could not “demonstrate compelling reasons” to keep the deputy names private and could not identify a past civil rights case where officer names and ranks were withheld, according to details shared by Bryant on social media.
Now Bryant’s lawyers can add the deputy names in the descriptions of their civil suit against L.A. County, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The defendants argued that there is concern over “vitriol and social media attacks” with the case being public, but the judge ruled it did not “outweigh the public’s strong interest in access.”
The defendants also argued that making the deputy names public could lead to a hack that reveals photos of the crash, but the judge said that is inconsistent with the Sheriff’s claims that the photos no longer exist.