It is Now a Misdemeanor in California For First Responders to Take Unauthorized Photos of an Accident Scene
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday approved legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other peopls (That's how the AP wrote it. YIKES! At least DOL doesn't have an editor; what's your excuse?) that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.
Reports surfaced after the Jan. 26 crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the others (this is Dozo talking again...that's not a super-great way to mention the seven other victims @AP) that graphic photos of the victims were being shared.
Eight deputies were accused of taking or sharing graphic photos of the scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said then, adding that he had ordered the images deleted. He said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it did not apply to accident scenes.
The measure that will take effect Jan. 1 makes it a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 per offense to take such photos for anything other than an official law enforcement purpose.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has sued the department over the photos.
Did you ever have a phase as a kid where you were obsessed with obscure laws or were you busy playing Little League and having friends?
Instead of learning how to throw a baseball, I wondered how laws like "it's illegal to eat fried chicken with utensils in Georgia" or "no seaweed collecting in Maine" got on the books. I said laws "like" because while I can remember having conversations with my grandparents about weird laws as a boy, I couldn't tell you any of them except that it's illegal to have an ice cream cone in your pocket in Alabama. Meanwhile the age of consent is only 16 #RollTide.
With this new law in California, there is no wondering why it's on the books; it makes perfect sense. After the shocking and untimely death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others rocked the entire planet, news came out that first responders at the scene were sharing photos of the dismembered victims. One even allegedly used the photos to hit on chicks at a bar.
These were people's parents, children, family, spouses and friends. The loved ones of the victims have already gone through enough. They really don't need some ass hole rookie cop putting a snapchat filter on burning, dismembered remains of someone they love in hopes that their tinder match gets wet from the event that set the wheels in motion of 2020 being a historically awful year.
That being said, I don't want to come across some holier than thou person when it comes to shock and horror. I'm a millennial, I understand the urge to document your life. I'd 100% look at the photos if you offered to show me, but that's just because I have a curious mind. In 2014 when the Ice Bucket Challenge and ISIS were everywhere I watched all the videos I could.
I went to middle school in the 2000's. I can vividly remember going on Rotten.com and having "friends" show me snuff films on fucking Limewire. Guess what I picked when asked "do you want to watch Baker 3 or someone get their head chopped off with a Samurai sword?" It was not very hashtag good guy of me. I say this because I don't want to sound like the parents who act like weed is heroin when they used to do coke on the regular #hyprocrites. I get the fucked appeal of fucked up shit. (what a sentence!)
I also understand that some laws just make sense. As much as I want to be smug and talk shit about this not already being a law, I almost understand. The ability to instantly take a photo of anything, anywhere (except at a Tool concert) is relatively new. Most people didn't have camera phones in like 2004 so there was no need for this to be an official law, I suppose.
My first cell-phone in '06 didn't even have a camera. I used to have to borrow my dad's to take my myspace angle mirror pics (the term selfie wouldn't be part of everyday language for over five years). First responders are there to try to save lives, not be TMZ. While I'm sure it was pretty obvious there would be no attempts at resuscitation that Sunday morning in Calabasas, it is kinda disgusting that EIGHT, almost an entire baseball team worth of people (you could get away with two outfielders if they're fast enough) decided they needed personal photos of dead children.
While I think the Kobe Bryant Act of 2020 is a good idea to deter people from taking photos of horrific accidents, I feel like a $1000 fine isn't steep enough. I don't want to say $1000 isn't make or break to some people, but that doesn't seem like a harsh enough punishment when some big publications will just gladly factor that into their acquisition cost. If anything purchasing photos from a crime/accident scene should also be a crime. R.I.P. to all nine victims, hopefully this law is passed by more states if they don't have something on the books already.