California OKs Kobe-inspired law restricting crash-site photos

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Sep 30 2020 09:02 AM

A California law making it illegal for first responders to take personal photos of sites where people were killed will take effect on Jan. 1 -- a law inspired by the death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter.

Gov. Gavin Newson signed the bill on Monday. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) after reports emerged that some Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies had snapped photos of the site in Calabasas, Calif., where the Bryants and seven others died in a helicopter crash, and shared the images.

"Proud to report that my bill, The #KobeBryant Act of 2020, was signed today by @GavinNewsom. #AB2655 will prohibit first responders from taking photos of the deceased outside of job duties," Gipson tweeted Monday night.

Under the new law, a first responder who takes a photo of the deceased at an accident or crime scene for "any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose or a genuine public interest" can be charged with a misdemeanor. Each offense for taking or sharing such a photo would result in a fine of up to $1,000 upon conviction.

Vanessa Bryant sued the sheriff's department earlier this month, claiming invasion of privacy, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress over the alleged sharing of photos of the site where her husband and daughter, 13, died.

Kobe Bryant, 41 at his death, played 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously.