SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.
The bill signed Monday makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.
Reports surfaced after the January 26 crash that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Eight deputies were accused of taking or sharing graphic photos of the scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said then, adding that he had ordered the images deleted.
Sheriff Villanueva said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.
The measure that will take effect Jan. 1 makes it a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 per offense to take such photos for anything other than an official law enforcement purpose.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has sued the department over the photos. In her lawsuit, Bryant alleges that eight deputies took "gratuitous images" with their cell phones after responding to the scene.
Bryant's suit also alleges that one of those deputies showed images from the scene to someone outside the department. According to Yahoo, that deputy showed photos from the scene to a person at a bar and bragged "about how he had been at the crash site." A bartender who overheard the conversation later notified the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department about the conversation.