The deputy who allegedly shared crash photos of Kobe Bryant is accused of kneeling on an inmate's head

The same police officer who is said to have taken pictures of Kobe Bryant's dead body and shared them is also accused of kneeling on an inmate's head for 3 minutes.

The lawsuit that Bryant's widow, Vanessa, filed against LA County is now based on a video of the alleged inmate abuse.

Vanessa Bryant says in her lawsuit that Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Douglas Johnson helped break the privacy of her late husband and daughter Gianna when county workers shared pictures of their bodies.

The NBA star and Gianna, who was 13, died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, along with six other people and a pilot.

Johnson is getting more attention because a video that was leaked to Knock LA shows him kneeling on the head of handcuffed inmate Enzo Escalate.

USA Today says that the county's lawyers are trying to stop the video from being used as evidence in Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit, which is set to go to trial in late July. They say that the video is not relevant to the case.

“The March 2021 County jail incident has nothing to do with this case, which centers on allegations that the County violated Plaintiff’s rights by taking and sharing photos of the January 26, 2020 helicopter crash,” the county said in court docs reviewed by the paper. 

Footage of Deputy Douglas Johnson in an altercation with Enzo Escalante.
Deputy Douglas Johnson stands accused of kneeling on an inmate’s head for 3 minutes.
Twitter/@KnockDotLA
Footage of Deputy Douglas Johnson in an altercation with Enzo Escalante.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the sheriff’s office tried to cover up Johnson’s treatment of the inmate.
Twitter/@KnockDotLA
Footage of Deputy Douglas Johnson kneeling on the head of Enzo Escalante.
Johnson is now facing more scrutiny over the release of video leaked to Knock LA, which appears to show him kneeling on the head of inmate Enzo Escalate.
Twitter/@KnockDotLA

The Los Angeles Times says that the sheriff's office tried to hide how Johnson treated Escalante because it was similar to how George Floyd used force, which got a lot of attention.

“The only reason Plaintiff would seek to elicit testimony about Deputy Johnson’s altercation with the inmate and LASD’s response is to impugn Deputy Johnson’s and Sheriff [Alex] Villanueva’s character,” the county claimed in court documents, referring to a second law-enforcement official tied to the case. “This is improper.”

Vanessa Bryant has said she lives “in fear” that pictures of her dead husband and daughter will “go viral,” according to a court papers.

Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene
Koby Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, died Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash along with six other passengers and a pilot.
David McNew/Getty Images
An investigator works at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on January 27, 2020.
An investigator works at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on January 27, 2020.
James Anderson/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images
Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene
Vanessa Bryant has said she lives “in fear” that pictures of her dead husband and daughter will “go viral,” according to a court papers.
Kobe Bryant
Vanessa Bryant claims in her suit that Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Johnson helped violate the privacy of her late husband and daughter.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

“The gratuitous sharing continued in the following days and weeks and included such outrageous conduct as flaunting the photos in a bar while pantomiming dismemberment, showing off the photos over cocktails at an awards gala, and casually texting the photos to a group chat of video-game buddies while playing Call of Duty,” her lawyers have said in previous court papers. 

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