Letters to the Editor: Why should taxpayers cover $31 million over Kobe Bryant crash scene photos?

Vanessa Bryant, widow of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, leaves federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, after a jury awarded her and another man $31 million in damages for the graphic photos sheriff's deputies and firefighters took of the 2020 helicopter crash scene that killed Bryant, his daughter, and seven others.
Vanessa Bryant leaves court in Los Angeles after a jury awarded her and another man $31 million in damages Wednesday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: I am gratified to read that Vanessa Bryant and another plaintiff won $31 million in their suit against Los Angeles County over sheriff's deputies and firefighters who took took and shared photos of Kobe Bryant and other victims of the 2020 helicopter crash.

Who would or could ever think that sharing grisly photos of dead people would be acceptable, especially when there are children involved? It is a stain on the county's fire and sheriff's departments.

What bothers me is that we, the taxpayers, will have to cough up this $31 million. How is that fair? Why should our taxes go to pay for the grievous intentional misdeeds of others? Shouldn't the entities involved be made to raise this money somehow?

Linda Cooper, Studio City

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To the editor: As a taxpayer, I'm appalled that L.A. County did not do a better job of fighting Bryant's damage claims arising from the somewhat limited distribution of her late husband's crash scene photos.

The photos may have technically violated her privacy rights, but as a person often in the public eye, I don't see how she can claim that their limited exposure really inflicted such horrendous emotional damage that she should receive millions of dollars in compensation.

I'd like to see the award appealed.

Michael Ernstoff, Los Angeles

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.