Vanessa Bryant took the Los Angeles County sheriff to task this week after he issued a challenge to LeBron James, asking the NBA star to match the $200,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of the Compton gunman who shot two deputies last weekend.
Bryant used Instagram Stories to showcase a series of articles and tweets criticizing Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his deputies over the leak of graphic photos showing the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others last January.
Bryant's public clapback came after the Associated Press published an interview on Monday, in which Villanueva slammed elected officials, sports figures and civic leaders for 'fanning the flames of hatred,' saying they instead should emphasize trust in the criminal justice system.
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Vanessa Bryant on Monday took to Instagram to blast LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva over his comments challenging LeBron James to match a $200,000 reward for information on the Compton gunman. Bryant shared a series of unflattering articles and posts about the sheriff's handling of the leak of graphic photos from the scene of her husband's crash
Bryant shared several posts from user @ElanMaree blasting the sheriff for allegedly protecting his deputies instead of the Bryant family's privacy
The sheriff also rejected claims the criminal justice system is biased against people of color, saying his department is committed to thorough investigations, including of its own employees.
He then challenged James to match $175,000 in what he said was donated reward money to find the shooter, he told KABC.
The reward has since reached $200,000 thanks a private donation of $25,000.
Bryant also re-posted an article from The Hollywood Reporter about a lawsuit seeking to keep an internal affairs investigation into the leak private
In response to Villanueva's comments, Bryant shared a post from user @ElanMaree, who wrote: '"How can he talk about trusting the system? His sheriff's department couldn't be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant's helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them,' as Fox News first reported.
Bryant then posted an article published in The Hollywood Reporter back in May about a lawsuit that was filed by the union for deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seeking to keep the internal affairs investigation into the distribution of the crash scene photos private.
She also shared a screenshot from a post on lakernation.com featuring an excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article, saying that a county law enforcement watchdog agency was seeking to subpoena documents related to allegations that Sheriff Villanueva 'directed a cover-up' by destroying evidence and suppressing an administrative investigation to avoid negative publicity.
Bryant filed her own lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in May, accusing eight deputies of taking pictures of the 'dead children, parents, and coaches' in the crash and sharing them with others.
According to the complaint, one deputy allegedly even showed the picture off to impress a woman at a bar.
Alex Villanueva, sheriff of LA County, on Monday challenged LeBron James to match the funds
The Ohio-born basketball superstar has been outspoken in his support for Black Lives Matter
'Mrs. Bryant has suffered an immense tragedy by losing her husband and daughter; her grief has been compounded by the severe emotional distress caused by the sheriff's deputies' misconduct and the Sheriff's Department's mishandling of that misconduct,' the court papers stated.
As well as citing the action of the deputies, the claim also slammed the 'department's mishandling of this egregious misconduct' when the photos surfaced.
It stated the offending deputies were simply told to delete the images and faced no discipline for their actions.
On Monday, Bryant re-posted another tweet criticizing Villanueva for allegedly failing to stop his deputies from leaking photos of the crash victims, but ended on a conciliatory note.
'Not all deputies are bad apples. Prayers for the 2 deputies that were shot,' she wrote.
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash along with seven other people in January