Vanessa Bryant wants a jury to know that sheriff’s deputy accused of taking photos of helicopter crash scene Kobe Bryant was implicated in another scandal involving excessive force where a handcuffed inmate’s head was allegedly kneeled.
But LA County retaliates, insisting the other incident is irrelevant and would seriously prejudice the jury.
About a year after Kobe, gigiand seven others died tragically in a helicopter crash, there was an incident inside a county jail involving a deputy named Doug Johnson …who is accused of kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate for several minutes. The March 2021 incident received national media attention.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department reportedly tried to prevent details of the incident from being made public…thinking it would be a black eye for the department.
This isn’t the first scandal Doug Johnson has allegedly been embroiled in…as he’s accused of being one of the deputies who took photos of Kobe’s remains at the crash site.
Photos were then shown to civilians – without authorization – at places like bars.
Now, LA County attorneys are asking a judge to block Vanessa’s lawyer from raising the issue in the defamation and negligence lawsuit – filed by the Bryant family in 2020 – which is set to begin in July.
The county, in documents filed Friday, says the jail incident is “completely unrelated” to Vanessa’s case. They argue that addressing such a burning issue as excessive force could have a huge effect on the outcome of the trial.
County attorneys reportedly asked Vanessa’s legal team if they would agree not to discuss the other incident … but VB’s attorney refused, according to the LA Times. That’s when LA County filed the petition.
A judge has yet to rule on LA County’s request.
As for the prison incident… Johnson was filmed leading an inmate down a hallway, before the man, awaiting a murder charge, punched him in the face multiple times. Once Johnson subdued and handcuffed the 24-year-old inmate, he reportedly knelt on the inmate’s head for approximately 3 minutes.
The incident was captured on surveillance video.