Los Angeles authorities are investigating whether police deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a public safety source with knowledge of the events had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the investigation of the crash.
He said the photos showed the scene and victims' remains. The source spoke to the LA Times on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the allegations.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, said: "As with all investigations, we will aggressively represent our members and preserve their rights,"
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Sheriff's department told The Evening Standard: "That matter is being looked into. We have no further comment to make at this time."
Bryant and the others were killed in the helicopter crash on January 2. The group were travelling to a youth basketball tournament at Bryant's sports facility in Thousand Oaks. The cause of the crash is undetermined.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna, whose team was coached by her father, were honuored at a public memorial at Staples Center, where Bryant starred for most of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board stated there weren't any signs of engine failure from the wreckage recovered from the crash site. The pilot, Ara Zobayan, had nearly navigated the helicopter out of blinding clouds when it turned and plunged into the mountainside.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, alleging that Zobayan was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions and should have aborted the flight.
Also killed in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach the girls' basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton.
Alyssa and Payton were Gianna's teammates.