As hard as it is to believe, nearly two years have passed since Kobe Bryant, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant and several other parents and children were killed in a horrific helicopter accident outside of Los Angeles. The basketball legend's untimely death sparked tributes from Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Kendrick Lamar and countless others.
In the midst of mourning, members of the Bryant family raised issues with the pilot and first responders. The pilot was accused of agreeing to fly in unsafe conditions while several first responders were accused of publicly sharing photos of the crash scene. In response, Bryant's widow, Vanessa, has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County. According to NPR, the lawsuit contends that first responders shared "gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents and coaches" and the Bryant family suffered emotional distress as a result.
"For the rest of my life I'm going to have to fear that these photographs of my husband and child will be leaked," Vanessa Bryant said in a deposition.
Countering this claim, attorneys representing Los Angeles County first responders have argued that Bryant had never seen the photos and they were shared publicly. Adding on, attorneys representing first responders asked for Bryant and the families of other victims to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not they had endured emotional distress. Needless to say, this request was not received well in the court of public opinion. It also did not go over well in the court of law either. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick has denied the request for a psych evaluation.
Moving forward, NPR reports that the county sheriff and fire chief will be deposed. The invasion-of-privacy lawsuit is scheduled to begin in February.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.