California’s new “Kobe Bryant Law” bans first responders from taking photos of the dead

Oct 1, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

California’s new “Kobe Bryant Law” bans first responders from taking photos of the dead

Oct 1, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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A new law has recently been signed in California, making it illegal for first responders to take unauthorized photos of dead bodies at crime and accident scenes. The “Kobe Bryant Law” was inspired by the tragic death of the basketball superstar in January this year and the unauthorized uses of the accident scene images that occurred later. 

The NBA star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on 26 January this year, along with his daughter and seven more people. In February, Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff.  She claimed that deputies shared unauthorized photos of the crash and reportedly sought damages for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Guardian writes that eight deputies were accused of taking or sharing graphic photos of the scene. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that he had ordered the photos deleted, adding that “the department had a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it did not apply to accident scenes.” 

When the “Kobe Bryant Law” takes effect, it will be illegal to take photos of crime and accident scenes for any other purpose than official law enforcement or genuine public interest. Taking unauthorized photos will be considered a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 per offense. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom approved the legislation on Monday and it’s due to take effect on 1 January 2021. You can read the full “Kobe Bryant Law” (AB-2655) here. 

[via PetaPixel] 

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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11 responses to “California’s new “Kobe Bryant Law” bans first responders from taking photos of the dead”

  1. Alexandre Ayoubi Avatar
    Alexandre Ayoubi

    What if a police officer chokes someone to death, can you document that?

  2. Jonathan Shell Avatar
    Jonathan Shell

    I understand the thought process behind it but I wonder on the constitutionality of that law. When did a police officer surrender his/her rights to photograph an area which is public? At what point can a law be stretched to say that a citizen cannot photograph a crime scene or an accident? How about photographing police officers in the performance of their duties?

    Something can be against departmental policy which can lead up to termination but going further and making it a crime I feel has constitutional consequences.

    1. Derek Smallwood Avatar
      Derek Smallwood

      Jonathan Shell Some interesting points.

    2. pincherio Avatar
      pincherio

      A police officer/investigator should take pictures for the purpose of recording the scene to aid in the investigative process. This should remain in the possession of the department unless its release is authorized by lawful order. These investigators are not news reporters. It is not within their realm of responsibilities to be sharing pictures they take during an investigation as it can hamper the investigative process and violate privacy rights of parties involved.

      It is not unusual for certain organizations in government to have their rights curtailed due to the sensitive nature of their position so this law is not unusual. In the same way that military personnel should not be posting selfies with top secret equipment or posting the location of secret bases or sharing the identities of undercover agents, this legislation limiting the rights of police investigators is reasonable.

  3. Ann O'Loughlin Bertulli Avatar
    Ann O’Loughlin Bertulli

    How does that not fall under HIPPA?

    1. Jason Page Avatar
      Jason Page

      Ann O’Loughlin Bertulli HIPPA applies to health care providers

  4. Algie Littlepage Avatar
    Algie Littlepage

    I take it the ban on taking photos includes video. If so, it’s possible they have banned video from the body cams that everyone has been bitching the cops wear…. Think about it.

    1. cycleguy55 Avatar
      cycleguy55

      Body cam videos would be categorized as official law enforcement.

  5. John Beatty Avatar
    John Beatty

    It is a shame we need a law to stop something that people should not do just out morals. The photos/videos can have the ID blurred out. shame.

  6. Steve Slate Avatar
    Steve Slate

    Laws don’t stop people from doing what they want to do. And no amount of money can bring back a person from the dead. This is just one more example and proof of what really lies in the human heart.

  7. pincherio Avatar
    pincherio

    The term “genuine public interest” seems rather vague. They need to make it more specific or identify the people who determine what “general public interest” means.