An investigation is under way into whether sheriff’s deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a public safety source had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting not related to the investigation.
He said the photos showed the scene and victims’ remains.
LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Maria Lucero said “the matter is being looked into”.
The LA Times said it was unclear how widely the photos might have been shared and who was involved.
It is also unclear whether the deputies had taken the photos themselves or received them from someone else.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, declined to comment on the claims specifically.
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“As with all investigations, we will aggressively represent our members and preserve their rights,” the union said in a statement.
Captain Jorge Valdez, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said it had contacted the victims’ families over the claims.
Bryant and the other victims killed in the 26 January helicopter crash were travelling to a youth basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna were honoured on Monday at a public memorial at the Staples Center, where Bryant starred for most of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week, alleging that pilot Ara Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions and should have aborted the flight.
The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc, operator of the service, and Island Express Holding Corp, owner of the aircraft.
It also targets the pilot’s representative or successor, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.
Also killed in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls’ basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates.