Nothing about Kobe Bryant’s death is positive, but hopefully, some of the negativity following the tragic helicopter crash can lead to better practices in the future.
The NBA star’s passing has prompted one lawmaker in California to propose a bill that would make it a crime for first responders to share unsanctioned photos from crime scenes. Mike Gipson is the one who introduced the legislation, titled “Invasion of Privacy: First Responders.” This comes after it was discovered that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies took gruesome photos of the crash site and shared them with colleagues and even with some people in the public, according to reports from The Hill.
If the bill ends up becoming law, it would become a misdemeanor for a first responder to take images of a deceased person “for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose, or for a genuine public interest,” the bill reads. Which….should already be a law that exists, but I digress.
Breaking this policy could result in a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, with first responders listed as local and state police officers, paramedics, firefighters, coroners, and more.
“Our first responders, when responding to an emergency, should not be taking very sensitive photographs … for their own gain, for their own pleasure,” Gipson said. “It was unconscionable. It’s not right.”
Three days after Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash, a deputy reportedly shared photos of the crime scene with patrons at a bar. One of the citizens who saw the photos later filed a complaint with the police department.
Since common decency clearly isn’t at the top of everyone’s mind, hopefully this law goes into effect to protect future victims.