Sir, I need you to go find some remorse!
On the third day of Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against the county, Deputy Doug Johnson took the stand and said when he arrived he encountered two firefighters and told them one of his tasks were to take pictures of the crash site. He said he took 25 pictures and then texted them to the firefighters thinking they were top officials.
According to The NY Post, Deputy Johnson testified that he took photos of a Black man’s detached limbs including a foot and torso that was found near the wrecked helicopter. This is assumed to be the appendages of the L.A. Lakers star.
Johnson said, “I don’t remember seeing the victim’s head. I remember [it having] a torso and having pants.”
He also took photos of a child with black hair and black skin that was presumed to be Kobe and Vanessa’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, reports The Post.
When Vanessa’s attorney, Eric Tuttle, asked, “Did it ever occur to you that it is not appropriate to have close-ups of human remains on your personal cell phone?”
Johnson answered, “No, sir,” and echoed the response when asked if he regretted taking the pics. Johnson also said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Johnson said the majority of his pictures were close-ups of body parts and he only captured the photos at the request of Dept. Raul Versales, who was also present at the bottom of the hill Kobe’s helicopter collided with.
Johnson’s claim was countered when Vanessa’s attorney played a recording of Versales saying, “All of us at the command post, including myself, we did not request photographs.”
The deputy’s account also contrasted the sworn statement of Malibu Search & Rescue Team Reserve Deputy David Katz. He testified that Johnson revealed to him that he took around 100 pictures.
Allegedly, the photos were shared to “at least 28 [LA County sheriff’s deputies] devices and by at least a dozen firefighters.”
Vanessa’s lawyers said many of the individuals boasted about being in possession of the photos – treating them like prized “souvenirs.” Not only in bars but also “pantomiming dismemberment and showing off the photos over cocktails at an awards gala.”
In a deposition read during court, Det. Scott Miller said he received the pictures on his device and asked his wife if she wanted to view them but she refused his offer.
“I told her there were piles of meat,” Miller allegedly said in the recording according to The New York Post, then laughed loudly.
As previously reported Vanessa Bryant began to sob uncontrollably after hearing the insensitive remark. Speaking of insensitive, The Post adds that a retired officer testified that police kept “ghoul books” with graphic photos of dead celebrities and other well-known individuals. How weird and morbid!
Vanessa is seeking millions in damages (as she should).
With the compelling testimony given from officials and citizens about how callously officials shared the photos, I would be shocked and appalled if Vanessa lost her case. She and the entire Bryant family have experienced significant trauma these past 2 years and need the closure they deserve.