Vanessa Bryant has pointed jurors in the direction of an excessive force scandal surrounding the sheriff’s deputy who allegedly shared Kobe Bryant’s fatal crash scene photos, amid her lawsuit with Los Angeles County.
The incident refers to Deputy Doug Johnson’s involvement using excessive force on handcuffed inmate Enzo Escalate in 2021, where he allegedly knelt on the detainee’s head for three minutes, reports the New York Post.
Here's the footage of Deputy Douglas Johnson kneeling on the head of Enzo Escalante, leaked to Knock LA. @AleneTchek reported on claims that Sheriff Villanueva directed a cover-up of the investigation of this use-of-force & is now the subject of a department investigation. pic.twitter.com/ELj7K2N7Yq
— Knock LA (@KnockDotLA) April 27, 2022
Video of the abuse is now in the spotlight in the midst of the legal battle where Vanessa claims Johnson violated her privacy by flaunting the images of her late husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s remains of the January 2020 crash.
According to USA Today, LA County lawyers contend irrelevance and are doing their best to impede the viral video from being introduced as evidence during the trial scheduled in July.
“The March 2021 County jail incident has nothing to do with this case, which centers on allegations that the County violated Plaintiff’s rights by taking and sharing photos of the January 26, 2020 helicopter crash,” the county said in court documents.
The sheriff’s office has tried to keep the video under wraps and have filed a motion to strike down the evidence as another scandal is added to the mounting horrendous publicity of the department, “given its nature and its similarities to widely publicized George Floyd use of force.”
The county alleges that the only reason Vanessa would think to submit this into evidence would be to discredit the officer’s character.
“This is improper,” the county stated.
Vanessa says she lives in constant fear that the crude images of her dead husband and daughter at the crash site will “go viral,” according to a court papers.
“The gratuitous sharing continued in the following days and weeks and included such outrageous conduct as flaunting the photos in a bar while pantomiming dismemberment, showing off the photos over cocktails at an awards gala, and casually texting the photos to a group chat of video-game buddies while playing Call of Duty,” her lawyers have claimed.
A decision remains pending on the county’s motion.