During a trial, Victor Gutierrez, a bartender at Baha Grill, testifies about the moments L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Joey Cruz showed bar employees and patrons photographs from the scene.
AceShowbiz -A trial regarding Kobe Bryant‘s fatal helicopter crash scene photos continued to take place on Friday, August 12. During the trial, Victor Gutierrez, a bartender at Baha Grill, testified about the moments L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Joey Cruz showed bar employees and patrons photographs from the scene.
According to TMZ, Gutierrez claimed that Cruz asked him if he wanted to see pictures of the remains of the Lakers star and other victims of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed nine people, including the fallen star and his 13-year-old daughter. While he admitted that he said he did want to see the pictures, Gutierrez denied that he laughed over the images.
Refuting the claims, the attorney for Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant then showed the court still images from bar surveillance video where it appeared Gutierrez was laughing. Still, the bartender insisted that he wasn’t laughing, saying that anyone must be psychotic to find those images funny. Gutierrez also believed that Cruz showed the pictures to unload the burden of the horrific crash.
Prior to this, Bryant’s lawyer told a jury that Los Angeles County deputies and firefighters shot and shared gruesome photos from the helicopter crash site. “They were shared by deputies playing video games,” attorney Luis Li said. “They were shared repeatedly with people who had absolutely no reason to receive them.”
Meanwhile, an attorney for the county defended the taking of the photos, saying that it was an essential tool for first responders seeking to share information when they thought they might still save lives at the chaotic, dangerous and hard-to-reach crash scene in the Calabasas hills west of Los Angeles. “Site photography is essential,” county lawyer J. Mira Hashmall said.
Li additionally told jurors that Bryant learned a month after the crash about the photos’ circulation not from the county but from the Los Angeles Times and that contributed to her still-raw suffering. “January 26th, 2020, was the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life. The county made it much worse,” the attorney said. “They poured salt in an open wound and rubbed it in.”
Li also accused the county of failing to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure every copy of the photo was accounted for, adding that Bryant “will be haunted by what they did forever” due to the fear that her surviving children may see them online someday.
Hashmall, however, told jurors that the fact that the pictures have not appeared in more than two years showed that leaders in the sheriff’s and fire department did their jobs. “They’re not online. They’re not in the media. They’ve never even been seen by the plaintiffs themselves,” Hashmall said. “That is not an accident. That is a function of how diligent they were.”
Bryant reportedly could not help but cry frequently during her lawyer’s presentation at the trial. She even was seen still wiping tears during a break.
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