Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, has spoken out against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who challenged NBA superstar LeBron James to match reward money for information on the shooting of two deputies in Compton, CA over the weekend.
In a series of Instagram Story posts, Bryant highlighted screenshots of tweets and articles blasting Villanueva. She shared the posts calling out the sheriff’s department over controversial online leaks. In fact, graphic footage was leaked in January after the tragic helicopter crash that killed her husband and their young daughter Gianna.
Bryant shared tweets from user @ElanMaree, which questioned the validity of Villanueva’s comments to reporters on Monday.
Furthermore, Bryant shared a May headline stating the union for deputies of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department was suing Villanueva. The union sued Villanueva to keep the internal affairs investigation into the distribution of the photos private.
Additionally, Bryant filed her own lawsuit against Villanueva and his office in May for releasing the private photos.
“No fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” the lawsuit reads. “As the department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”
Finally, Bryant posted a screenshot of a quote from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, condemning the shooting of the deputies.
“Not all deputies are bad apples,” she wrote. “Prayers for the 2 deputies that were shot.”
Sheriff’s Controversial Challenge to LeBron James
On Monday, the John Phillips Show on KABC Radio interviewed Villanueva. During the interview, he challenged James to contribute to efforts to find the gunman who shot two deputies. The gunman shot the deputies at point-blank range as they sat in their marked police SUV. Villanueva asked James to match, and therefore double, the reward money being offered for information.
Villanueva said the reward money is up to $175,000. The total combines a donation of $100,000 from the county and $75,000 from two private individuals.
“This challenge is to Lebron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,” Villanueva said. “I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community.”
“And I appreciated that,” he continued. “But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”
Meanwhile, there was not an immediate response from James or his team to the sheriff’s challenge.
[H/T FOX News]