Vanessa Bryant slammed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva for challenging NBA star LeBron James this week to match and double the reward money offered for information on the gunman responsible for the ambush shooting of two deputies in Compton.
In no-longer-visible Instagram story posts, Bryant spotlighted a series of tweets and articles calling out Villanueva and the department, FOX News reported.
“He shouldn’t be challenging LeBron James to match a reward or ‘to step up to the plate,’” said a tweet Bryant shared, written by Elan Maree. “He couldn’t even ‘step up to the plate’ and hold his deputies accountable for photographing dead children.”
The tweet refers to the eight L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies who took graphic photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Vanessa’s husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others — and leaked them to unauthorized people.
Vanessa Bryant shared another tweet by Maree, which refers to a clip in which Villanueva urged athletes, elected officials and civic leaders to emphasize trust in the criminal justice system, rather than “fanning the flames of hatred.”
“How can he talk about trusting the system?” asked Maree in a quote tweet. “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.”
Bryant also shared articles from multiple outlets regarding the photo leaks, according to FOX News.
Saturday night, two LA County deputies – Claudia Apolinar, 31, and her 24-year-old male partner – were shot multiple times at close range as they sat in their patrol car in a chilling caught-on-video ambush.
The sheriff’s department is offering a $175,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the unknown gunman.
Speaking with KABC Radio on “The John Phillips Show,” Villanueva singled out LeBron James in a plea for help.
“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.”
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