Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe, was yesterday awarded $16m by a California jury after it heard that Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies took photos of his body and shared them with others. Jurors also awarded $15m to Christopher Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash that killed 8 in 2020.
A report by the Los Angeles Times claiming county employees took photos at the crash site and shared them with others has enraged the victims' families.Last November, the county agreed to pay $2.5m (£2.1m) over the emotional distress caused to two families who lost relatives in the crash – but Mrs Bryant refused to settle. Sobbing on the witness stand last week, Mrs Bryant recalled being at home with her other children when she read the LA Times story. "I bolted out of the house and I ran to the side of the house so the girls couldn't see me. I wanted to run… down the block and just scream," she said.
In a nation notorious for police brutality, poor training, weak civilian oversight and scant professional standards, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department stands out as surprisingly awful.