- Vanessa Bryant wants to take up a previous scandal against a deputy in her lawsuit against LA County.
- Bryant is in a legal battle with LA County over allegations that officers took photos of the crash that killed her husband and daughter.
- In March 2021, an LA sheriff’s deputy was recorded kneeling on a prisoner’s head for three minutes.
Lawyers representing Los Angeles County are seeking to exclude a video of a deputy sheriff kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate in March 2021 from an ongoing legal battle with Vanessa Bryant, according to new files obtained by Insider.
That same deputy is accused in a lawsuit of taking photos of the horrific crash scene that killed the late Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.
In September 2020, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the County, County Fire Department and eight officers over reports that first responders had taken and shared photos of the January 2020 crash site. Bryant accused first responders of “negligence” and “deliberate infliction of emotional distress and invasion of her right to privacy.” She is demanding an undisclosed compensation.
One of the deputies named in Bryant’s lawsuit, LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Johnson, was the subject of final filings by the Bryant and County legal teams on Saturday.
In late March, Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, citing internal records, reported on an alleged attempt to cover up a video showing Johnson kneeling on a detainee’s head for three minutes after punching the deputy in the face. beaten.
The incident took place in March 2021 and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is currently up for re-election for a second term, insisted he was not aware of it until October last year. The department has not charged inmate Enzo Escalante “given the nature and similarities with George Floyd’s widespread use of force,” Commander Allen Castellano said in a memo obtained by the LA Times.
LASD did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for information.
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County attorneys said recording the video would be “inappropriate,” in a motion to exclude the content.
“The only reason Plaintiff would attempt to obtain testimony about Deputy Johnson’s altercation with the inmate and LASD’s response is to question the character of Deputy Johnson and Sheriff Villanueva,” the county said.
Skip Miller, a partner at the Miller Baroness law firm and outside LA County counsel, said the prison incident was irrelevant to the Bryant photo case.
“The motion we filed will prevent the plaintiff from biasing the jury by introducing unproven charges against a witness unrelated to the case,” Miller said in a statement to Insider.
Bryant’s counsel said in the files that the County should not file an additional, belated motion that prevents evidence, in part because of how long it has been known internally.
“Defendants have known about the incident for more than a year and are trying to rule it out from evidence,” Bryant’s attorneys shot back in a filing late last week. “One of the main pieces of evidence trying to rule out Motion in Limine No. 6 is that a senior LASD official (Commander Allen Castellano) alleges that Sheriff Villanueva hid video of the kneeling incident and tried unsuccessfully to prevent its disclosure. .”
Bryant’s lawsuit against the county will go to trial on July 26, with a pre-trial hearing on July 8.
“We look forward to responding in court,” Bryant’s attorney Luis Li said in a statement to USA Today.
Bryant’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.