On August 10, Vanessa Bryant began her long-awaited invasion of privacy trial against Los Angeles County. And over the course of the hearings so far, shocking allegations have been unearthed about the accused first responders and the department’s handling of sensitive photos of death scenes.
During the Aug. 12 hearing, retired LAPD Lt. Adam Bercovici made a chilling testimony, saying that death photos, like Kobe’s, were commonly shared among officials. In a statement noted by our reporter Nicki Swift, Bercovici revealed that some officers even have “death books” or ghoul books” featuring deceased individuals as our Nicki Swift court reporter revealed that Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda used the graphic photos during the Golden Mike Awards 2020 showed. Luella also claimed that firefighter specialist Sky Cornell joked about seeing Kobe’s “burned body” before proceeding to eat.
Following explosive testimony on Aug. 15 from retired firefighter Brian Jordan — who said he never took photos of the bodies at the crash site, despite several witnesses claiming otherwise — the trial took another dramatic turn when Imbrenda took the witness stand.
Fire chief denies sharing grisly photos of Kobe
On August 17, Los Angeles Fire Chief Tony Imbrenda testified and explained how he showed up at the crash site on January 26, 2020 as a public information officer tasked with updating the media. The following day he visited the impact site with Fire Captain Arlin Kahan. Though he admitted to taking “three to five” photos on “Day 2” of the crash, Imbrenda vehemently denied showing Kobe’s mutilated body at the aforementioned awards ceremony. He said Kobe’s larger remains were moved early in “Day 1” due to privacy concerns about the athlete’s celebrity status, and told the court, “We understood there would be a public interest.” So, as he argued, fits the story of Luella Weireter not together.
As for the photos he took, Imbrenda built his side of the story with graphic details. He said the photos were meant to show the entire crash scene, which happened to include a lot of “smaller remains” mixed in with debris. These remains were demarcated by red flags to prevent them from being accidentally “kicked” by officials, while the identifiable parts were covered with white blankets.
Not only did Imbrenda’s testimony contradict Weireter’s testimony, but Golden Mike Awards attendee Erik Scott revealed in a pre-recorded interview that he saw “different body parts” and “someone bent in half” in Imbrenda’s cellphone photos. “There were feet. It could have been a torso,” Scott recalled, according to our Nicki Swift correspondent. Imbrenda also brushed off his actions, which caused distress to Vanessa and Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the crash. “I would never intend to hurt anyone,” he said.