The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department says it is looking into reports that sheriff’s deputies shared graphic images from the helicopter crash that killed basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and eight other people, including photos of the victims’ remains, The Los Angele Times reported citing an anonymous source. The source told the newspaper that he saw photos of the debris and dead bodies on the phone of an official in a setting that had nothing to do with the investigation.
The newspaper said it is unclear whether the photos were taken by sheriff’s deputies themselves or they received them from someone else. It’s also unclear how widely the images have been shared and who exactly was involved.
Commenting on the issue Joseph Giacalone, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said sharing photos with people not involved in the case "is a cardinal sin in law enforcement".
Media reports say the crash site was devastating as the helicopter slammed into the side of a mountain at a speed of 180 miles per hour (290 kph). The incident remains under investigation with a full report expected to be completed in 18 months. A preliminary investigation found there was no sign of a mechanical error in the Sikorsky s-76B.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, it was reported that all flights were grounded on the day of the crash due to foggy weather. Other reports say the pilot was warned by air traffic controllers he was going too low, meaning that the helicopter couldn’t be tracked by radar and Burbank Airport control tower couldn’t guide the pilot through the thick fog the helicopter was flying in.