In a few hours, the highly anticipated 2020-2021 NBA season will begin, and Ernie, Chuck, Kenny, and Shaq – a cop and Kobe Bryant’s former teammate – will be broadcasting live from Los Angeles – in the same place where the county is putting Bryant’s widow in a peculiar position.
While this practice may be the standard for emotional distress claims, the timing of it as the Lakers will play tonight just feels wrong – especially as Bryant will be mentioned numerous times this evening.
Check this out from the Associated Press:
“Los Angeles County is seeking to compel psychiatric evaluations for Kobe Bryant’s widow and others to determine if they truly suffered emotional distress after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, his teenage daughter and seven others, court documents say.
Vanessa Bryant, whose federal lawsuit against the county alleges invasion of privacy, has claimed in court papers that she has experienced “severe emotional distress” that has compounded the trauma of losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.”
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times was the first to report that a sheriff’s department internal investigation discovered that deputies shared photos of victims’ remains. This came after Vanessa Bryant claimed in her lawsuit that first responders, firefighters, and members of the sheriff’s department, took and shared pictures of Kobe’s body with a bartender and passed around “gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches.”
“Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” read the court documents.
Vanessa’s lawyers believe that LA County is “resorting to ‘scorched-earth discovery tactics’ designed to bully her and the family members of other victims into ‘abandoning their pursuit of accountability.”
L.A. County says that “psychiatric examinations are ‘necessary to evaluate the nature and extent’ of the families’ alleged injuries,” and want the evaluations to be recorded in video and audio, which will last eight hours for adults and four to six hours for children.
And here’s the kicker from L.A. County’s lawyers in a statement to the Associated Press.
“It’s horrific, the worst imaginable. But she sued the County for something that didn’t happen. There’s been no public disclosure of crash site photos, none. So we see this case as a money grab and are doing what’s necessary to defend our client.”
Remember this every time Kobe’s name is mentioned when the Warriors and Lakers take the court tonight in the place where Kobe spent his entire career.