Saturday, June 25, 2022
HomeNewsKobe Bryant crash, L.A. sheriff cover-up collide in courtroom

Kobe Bryant crash, L.A. sheriff cover-up collide in courtroom

A couple of yr after Los Angeles County Deputy Doug Johnson took graphic pictures of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene that have been then handed round, he used to be stuck up in some other scandal.

Johnson knelt at the head of a handcuffed inmate for a number of mins — some other incident sheriff’s officers attempted to stay quiet as a result of they feared it might convey “unfavorable gentle” to the Sheriff’s Division.

They have got change into two of essentially the most extremely publicized scandals within the Sheriff’s Division right through Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s time period — and so they’re now colliding within the court docket.

L.A. County legal professionals are seeking to block Vanessa Bryant, who’s suing the Sheriff’s Division for negligence and invasion of privateness over the picture sharing, from introducing the cover-up of the violent detention by means of Johnson as proof in her trial, which is about for subsequent month.

The county lawyers are arguing that the pressure incident and cover-up have “not anything to do with” Bryant’s claims. However they stated Bryant’s lawyers would no longer comply with exclude questions on it right through the trial. So they would like a pass judgement on to make a decision.

“The incident on the prison and LASD’s reaction are fully unrelated to the crash scene pictures at factor on this topic,” county lawyers wrote in a submitting Friday. “The incident is not just beside the point, but additionally extremely inflammatory—bearing on one of the contentious problems in our society, accusations of over the top pressure by means of law enforcement officials.”

County lawyers stated within the submitting that they known as Bryant’s legal professionals after the Sheriff’s Division’s dealing with of Johnson’s pressure incident, first reported by means of The Occasions, turned into nationwide information and requested in the event that they’d agree to not carry it at trial. Bryant’s legal professionals, who have been unavailable for remark Friday, refused, the submitting stated.

In each instances, the Sheriff’s Division sought to stay the alleged misconduct below wraps.

Days after the helicopter crash, the Sheriff’s Division gained a criticism {that a} younger Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy used to be appearing ugly pictures taken on the scene of the tragedy on the Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk.

Villanueva thru his subordinates ordered the deputies concerned to delete the crash pictures as an alternative of opening an investigation into the alleged misconduct. It used to be no longer till an afternoon after The Occasions first reported at the picture sharing that the Sheriff’s Division asked an inner affairs investigation, in line with inner sheriff’s information hooked up to a courtroom submitting.

Johnson stated in a memo to his manager that he had a valid explanation why to take the helicopter crash pictures, which he stated he right away deleted. Parts of his deposition testimony have been additionally made public in a courtroom submitting in Bryant’s case.

He testified that he hiked as much as the crash website, the place he looked for survivors and taped off the realm from hikers. He stated he then took 20 to 30 pictures of all the website, “documenting the whole thing,” together with serial numbers and sufferer stays, he testified.

He stated he didn’t suppose he ever wrote a record on what he documented. Nor did he ebook the pictures into proof. He texted the pictures to a deputy on the command submit and AirDropped them to a hearth legit.

The pictures unfold from there.

When Johnson used to be wondered about whether or not he nonetheless had the telephone with which he took the pictures, he stated he misplaced it the next yr whilst playing in Las Vegas.

Quickly after the picture sharing turned into public, Johnson used to be transferred to the Sheriff’s Division’s courtroom services and products department.

A couple of yr later, deputies have been undertaking regimen searches of inmates on the San Fernando Courthouse earlier than their courtroom appearances once they informed two inmates to be quiet.

Because the pair endured speaking and giggling, Johnson ordered certainly one of them, Enzo Escalante, to forestall and face the wall. Escalante, 24, used to be anticipating trial on more than one fees, together with homicide.

Safety video received by means of The Occasions displays Johnson strolling carefully in the back of Escalante thru a hallway earlier than ushering him towards a wall.

Escalante became round and punched Johnson within the face more than one occasions. Johnson and different deputies then took Escalante to the bottom, positioning him face down.

After he used to be handcuffed, Johnson stored his knee on Escalante’s head for 3 mins.

Division officers had nervous on the time in regards to the unfavorable exposure that might come from a deputy kneeling on a handcuffed guy’s head, “given its nature and its similarities to broadly publicized George Floyd use of pressure,” in line with an inner record by means of a commander important of the cover-up.

The commander, Allen Castellano, wrote within the July 2021 record that sheriff’s officers determined to not pursue legal fees in opposition to the inmate, who had punched the deputy within the face, to steer clear of drawing consideration to the incident. Sheriff’s officers waited till January — virtually a yr after the incident — to take the case in opposition to the inmate to prosecutors.

Castellano and different high-ranking sheriff’s officers have accused Villanueva of orchestrating the cover-up and mendacity about it, announcing in criminal claims filed in opposition to the county that he watched the video about 5 days after the incident came about in March 2021.

Villanueva claimed that he didn’t see the video till a number of months later, and took quick motion.

Supply hyperlink



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments