Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, is receiving pushback from Los Angeles County in the aftermath of her husband’s death. Vanessa filed a federal lawsuit against the county alleging invasion of privacy and claimed in court papers she experienced “severe emotional distress” after the deaths of her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
As a result, “Los Angeles County is seeking to compel psychiatric evaluations for Kobe Bryant’s widow and others to determine if they truly suffered emotional distress after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the 2020 helicopter crash” reports The Washington Times.
The widow’s lawsuit states first responders such as firefighters and sheriff’s deputies took photos of the devastating scene and then shared the photographs of Bryant’s body. As the Los Angeles Times first reported, a sheriff’s department internal investigation found evidence that deputies had indeed shared photos of the victims’ remains.
The Washington Times writes the individuals “shared photographs of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed around ‘gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.” The crash occurred on January 26, 2020, killing Bryant, his teenage daughter, and seven others.
The helicopter was headed to a girls basketball tournament when it crashed in the hills west of Los Angeles in foggy weather. Federal safety officials blamed the wreck on pilot error.
Los Angeles County attorneys are asking for the court to order Vanessa and other family members of the crash victims, “including children, to undergo psychiatric evaluations as independent medical examinations. The lawyers propose that the evaluations are audio- and vide-recorded and last eight hours for adults and four to six hours for children” reports the Times.
Vanessa’s lawsuit prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to approve legislation last year making it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at scenes of accidents or crimes.
Court documents say “Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
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Rep. Patrick McHenry Announces Retirement, Adding to Congressional Exodus
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has declared that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest in a growing list of lawmakers departing from Congress. McHenry, a close ally of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stated that he believes “there is a season for everything,” signaling the end of his tenure in the House. Having served since 2005, McHenry is the 37th member of Congress to announce they won’t seek re-election in 2024.
In a statement, McHenry reflected on the significance of the House of Representatives in the American political landscape, calling it the “center of our American republic.” He acknowledged the concerns about the future of the institution due to multiple departures but expressed confidence that new leaders would emerge and guide the House through its next phase.
The departure of McHenry and others comes against the backdrop of political shifts and challenges within the Republican Party. The GOP has faced setbacks in recent elections, including fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Internal strife and disagreements, exemplified by the rebellion against McCarthy, have characterized the party’s dynamics. The GOP’s approval rating stands at 30%, with a disapproval rating of 66%, reflecting the challenges and divisions within the party.
As McHenry steps aside, questions loom over the fate of open seats in the upcoming election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report identifies five open House seats as potential Democrat pickup opportunities, while none are listed for the GOP. The departures raise concerns about the party’s unity and ability to navigate the evolving political landscape.
With a total of 20 departing Democratic legislators and 10 Republicans, the changing composition of Congress adds complexity to the political dynamics leading up to the 2024 elections. As McHenry emphasizes a hopeful view of the House’s future, the evolving political landscape will determine the impact of these departures on the balance of power in Congress.
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