A bill before California legislators would make it illegal for first responders to share crime scene photos, a measure prompted by grisly images being circulated online from the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others. The proposed legislation, titled “Invasion of Privacy: First Responders,” was introduced by assembly member Mike Gipson.
The bill is now before the chamber's Public Safety Committee and carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. In March, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordered several deputies who took photos of the crash site to delete them off their personal devices. First responders from the department were accused of taking photos of bodies and sharing them with colleagues and the public. An investigation is ongoing.
"We've communicated in no uncertain terms that the behavior is inexcusable," Villanueva said at the time. "I mean, people are grieving for the loss of their loved ones. To have that on top of what they've already gone through is unconscionable. And, to think any member of our department would be involved in that."
Gipson, a Democrat, called the postings horrible. "Our first responders, when responding to an emergency, should not be taking very sensitive photographs … for their own gain, for their own pleasure,” Gipson said. “It was unconscionable. It’s not right.”
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in January after the former NBA star's helicopter crashed into a hillside in Los Angeles County.