*California Governor Gavin Newsom has made it a crime for first responders to take photographs of deceased victims ″outside of job duties,” said Assemblyman Mike Gipson.
Gipson introduced the legislation in May, titled “Invasion of Privacy: First Responders,” after it was reported that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s crash site with colleagues.
Newsome signed the Kobe Bryant Act of 2020 (AB 2655), on Monday. Violation of the law will result in a misdemeanor, PEOPLE reports.
— Asm. Mike A. Gipson (@AsmMikeGipson) September 29, 2020
Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, filed a legal complaint against the LA Sheriff’s Department over the leaked photos.
″In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,″ the document said. ″As the Department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”
The Sheriff’s Dept. reportedly tried to keep the photo scandal under wraps, until reporters from the Los Angeles Times exposed the cover-up.
Here’s what TMZ reported:
Deputies who responded to Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash site and took pictures of the remains were given a secret way out without repercussion.
We’re told a message was relayed.. if you got Kobe pics — come in, come clean and delete them. Do that, and you won’t be punished.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded to Newsom’s signing of the bill on Monday.
″Shortly following the Calabasas helicopter crash which tragically took nine lives, I sponsored legislation which now makes it a crime for public safety personnel to take or share pictures of the deceased for other than an official purpose,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you to @GavinNewsom for signing #AB2655 today, @AsmMikeGipson for authoring, and @JonesSawyerAD59 for supporting in committee,” Villanueva continued.