Vanessa Bryant testified about the graphic way first responders described crash remains, saying cops had no reason to take up-close photos of the crash

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Los Angeles, CA - August 19: Vanessa Bryant arrives at Federal Court to testify Friday in the lawsuit over graphic photos taken by first responders at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, their teenage daughter and seven others.Irfan Khan via Getty Images

  • Vanessa Bryant said in court on Friday that she didn't think it was necessary for first responders to take photos of her husband's body.

  • Bryant is suing Los Angeles County officials for sharing photos from the January 2020 helicopter crash.

  • Bryant's husband, Kobe, and daughter, Gianna, were both killed in the crash.

In a federal courtroom on Friday, Vanessa Bryant recalled the graphic imagery she heard first responders use to describe up-close photos of her husband and daughter after their helicopter crashed in 2020.

Vanessa Bryant sued Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and the county's fire department over photos taken at Kobe and Gianna Bryant's helicopter crash site that she alleges were shared by officers and other first responders. Kobe, a 20-year NBA veteran, and Gianna, 13, both died at the crash site in Calabasas in January 2020.

"I did not know that people would refer to them as 'piles of meat,' 'gumbo,' and 'hamburger meat,'" Bryant testified, referring to phrases used by first responders both in testimony and in internal interviews, which were played in court.

The Los Angeles Times reported a month after the crash that sheriff's deputies were sharing "graphic photos" days later.

Friday's testimony resurfaced a concern that has permeated the trial: Officials aren't even entirely sure they can trace back every photo, and no personal staff phones were forensically searched in internal investigations directly after the crash.

LA Sheriff's Deputy Doug Johnson, who took photos of Kobe Bryant's body, previously testified that he remembered airdropping photos to another person at the crash scene who he believed to be a fire official, but that person has not been identified in the course of the litigation.

Bryant testified that she didn't think it was necessary for Johnson to "take up-close photos of the victims," and "you can just count" the bodies instead. She said the photos could have spread "like COVID" after being shared.

She added she would "fight like hell to protect" her late husband and daughter in court.

County attorneys showed Bryant a purported crash photo

During cross-examination, an attorney for the County presented to Bryant and the jury a purported photo of a body covered by a pink blanket taken at the crash scene, and shared by a Twitter user and arguing that the photo was not disseminated by County officials.

"I want to make sure it's not that photograph," Bryant said, referring to a photo with a pink blanket over a victim. The attorney responded, "it is that photograph." Bryant confirmed she would not look at the image during the questioning.

She also levied criticism of the LASD and LACFD officials who have testified so far in the trial, saying that there has been "a lot of finger pointing."

Attorneys for the county have maintained that the first responders needed to take site photography to relay to the command post the nature of the scene, considering the crash, weather conditions, and ensuing media frenzy.

Read the original article on Insider