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County lawyers seek to exclude video of Sheriff’s deputy abuse


Lawyers representing Los Angeles County reportedly want to exclude a video of a deputy kneeling on the head of a handcuffed inmate in March 2021 from an ongoing legal fight with Vanessa Bryant, according to new filings obtained by Insider. That same deputy is accused in a lawsuit of allegedly taking photos of the crash scene that killed late Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.

In September 2020, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the county’s fire department, the county, and eight officers in the wake of reports that first responders took and shared photos of the January 2020 crash site.

Bryant accused the first responders of “negligence” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of her right to privacy.” She is suing for undisclosed damages.

One of the deputies mentioned in Bryant’s lawsuit, LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Johnson, was the subject of the latest filings by Bryant’s and the County’s legal teams on June 18.

In late March, Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian reported, citing internal records, about an alleged attempt to cover up a video in which Johnson was seen kneeling on an inmate’s head for three minutes after he punched the deputy in the face.

The incident occurred in March 2021, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who is currently seeking reelection for a second term, maintained that he was unaware of it until last October.

The department did not pursue charges against the inmate Enzo Escalante “given its nature and its similarities to widely publicized George Floyd use of force,” commander Allen Castellano said in a memo obtained by the LA Times.