Vanessa Bryant wants a jury to know that the sheriff’s deputy accused of taking helicopter crash scene photos of Kobe Bryant was involved in another scandal involving excessive force w. a handcuffed inmate’s head was allegedly knelt on.
But, L.A. County is fighting back, insisting the other incident is irrelevant, and would seriously prejudice the jury.
About a year after Kobe, Gigi, and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash, t. was an incident inside a county jail involving a deputy named Doug Johnson … who’s accused of kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate for several minutes. The March 2021 incident received national news attention.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department allegedly attempted to prevent the details of the incident from going public … believing it’d be a black eye for the department.
It’s not the first scandal Doug Johnson’s allegedly been involved in … ’cause he’s accused of being one of the deputies who took photographs of Kobe’s remains at the crash site.
Photos were then allegedly shown to civilians — without authorization — in places like bars.
Now, lawyers for L.A. County are asking a judge to prevent Vanessa’s attorney’s from raising the issue during the defamation and negligence trial — filed by the Bryant family in 2020 — and set to begin in July.
The county, in documents filed on Friday, argues the jail incident is “entirely unrelated” to Vanessa’s case. They argue bringing up such a hot . issue like excessive force could have a huge effect on the outcome of the trial.
Lawyers for the county reportedly asked Vanessa’s legal team if they’d agree not to bring up the other incident … but VB’s attorney refused, according to the L.A. Times. That’s when L.A. County filed the motion.
A judge is yet to make a decision on L.A. County’s request.
As for the jail incident … Johnson was captured on camera leading an inmate through a hallway, before the man, awaiting a murder charge, punched him in the face several times. Once Johnson got the 24-year-old inmate under control and handcuffed, he allegedly knelt on the inmates head for around 3 minutes.
The incident was caught on surveillance video.
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