First responders can be fined for unauthorized photos of victims under new Calif. law

The bill was introduced after reports that first responders took photos at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed nine people, including basketball star Kobe Bryant


Andrew Sheeler
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed a law crafted in the aftermath of the helicopter crash that Kobe Bryant’s that prohibits police, firefighters and paramedics from taking unauthorized pictures of dead bodies.

First responders under the new law can be charged with misdemeanor crimes and face penalties of up to $1,000 if convicted of the offense.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photographs of deceased victims. The bill was introduced following reports that first responders took photographs at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed nine people, including NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photographs of deceased victims. The bill was introduced following reports that first responders took photographs at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed nine people, including NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, wrote Assembly Bill 2655 in response to reports that first responders took personal photos at the scene of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas that killed Bryant and eight others.

“Like many others, I was mortified after I’d heard that first responders captured and shared unauthorized photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan,” Gipson said in a statement after his bill passed on to Newsom’s desk, listing the names of the crash victims. “The actions of the first responders involved were unacceptable, and they highlighted a problem that demands a strong remedy.”

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©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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