Vanessa Bryant hit back this week in Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who challenged NBA superstar LeBron James to match reward money for information about the shooting of two deputies in Compton, California, over the weekend.
In a series of posts on his Instagram story, Bryant highlighted screenshots of tweets and articles that blew up Villanueva and called his department because of the leak of graphic photos following the tragic helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their young daughter Gianna and seven others in January.
Bryant shared tweets from user @ElanMaree questioning the validity of Villanueva’s comments to reporters Monday regarding the criminal justice system.
LA SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA CHALLENGES LEBRON JAMES TO MATCH REWARD MONEY TO GUNMAN, WHICH LINES TWO OFFICIALS IN COMPTON
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“How can he talk about trusting the system?” asked @ElanMaree in a quote tweet. “His sheriff’s department could not trust him to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash, his deputies took and shared graphic images of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
Bryant then shared a May headline and article from The Hollywood Reporter showing that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s union sued Villanueva for keeping the investigation of internal affairs regarding the distribution of photos private.
Bryant’s own claim against Villanueva’s office was filed in May.
“No fewer than eight sheriffs’ deputies were on the scene and snapped cell phone pictures of the dead children, parents and coaches,” reads the claim per. People magazine. “As the department later admitted, there was no investigative purpose with deputies taking pictures at the crash site. Rather, deputies took photos for their own personal purposes. ”
The following text, which she took a screenshot of, was from lakersnation.com and discussed reports from the Los Angeles Times about a possible attempted attempt by Villanueva.
Villanueva has since made waves and defied a lawsuit related to how he wanted to protect inmates from COVID-19.
In a Monday interview with KABC Radio on the John Phillips Show, Villanueva challenged James to contribute to the effort to find the shooter who shot two Los Angeles County deputies on an empty lot and to match and double the reward money offered for information.
Villanueva said the reward money had reached $ 175,000 – a combination of $ 100,000 donations from the county and $ 75,000 from two individuals.
“This challenge is for Lebron James. I want you to match it and double that reward,” Villanueva said. “I know you are interested in law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact it has on African American society.
“And I appreciated that,” he continued. “But likewise, we need to understand that respect for life goes across all professions.”
The Los Angeles Lakers star has been one of the loudest professional athletes on social issues and police misconduct. After Jacob Blake was shot several times by officers in Wisconsin last month, leaving him paralyzed, James said black people in America are “afraid” of police misconduct.
“I know people get tired of hearing me say that, but we’re scared like black people in America,” James said after the Lakers’ Game 4 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last month. “Black men, black women, black children, we’re scared.”
He previously tweeted his frustrations over police shootings.
“And you wonder why we say what we say about the police !! Anyone tell me, WTF is this ??? !!! Exactly another black man is being targeted, ”James wrote. “This is — [sic] is so wrong and so sad !! Sorry so much for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE !! We want JUSTICE. ”
There was no immediate reaction from James to the sheriff’s challenge.
Bryant posted another tweet from @ElanMaree saying Villanueva should not challenge James to “step up on the plate” because the sheriff “could not even” step up to the plate “and hold his deputies responsible for photographing dead children.”
She then posted a photo of eight of those killed in the crash, including her husband and daughter, and tagged the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Instagram account.
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Finally, Bryant posted a screenshot of a quote from City of Angels Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti condemning the shooting of the deputies.
“Not all deputies are bad apples. Prayers for the two deputies who were shot,” she wrote.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.