Los Angeles cops have a culture of keeping “ghoul books” with graphic photos of dead celebrities and other high-profile victims such as Kobe Bryant for their own kicks, a retired police officer testified Friday.
Police in the star-studded city often hold onto “personal souvenirs” of fatalities involving famous people — and share them with each other in locker rooms and other casual settings, retired Los Angeles Police Department special investigator Adam Bercovici testified.
“These death books are widely spread and well-known. Officers keep them as souvenirs and they have no investigative value,” he said.
Bercovici took the stand as an expert witness on the third day of the trial over Vanessa Bryant’s federal lawsuit against the county, and said he was shown a “ghoul book” featuring Nicole Brown Simpson’s nearly decapitated corpse while on the job.
“It was a random Polaroid and I said to myself, ‘That’s not supposed to be going around.’ I said, ‘That was not cool.’ It was very graphic,” he said, adding the problem is widespread among law enforcement in southern California.
His comments came as the wife of an LA County firefighter testified that she saw a smoke eater showing colleagues photos taken from the helicopter crash that killed the NBA legend a few weeks after the tragedy in 2020.
Luella Weireter — who is also related to Keri Altobelli, a victim who died in the same accident — testified that she saw Tony Imbrenda of the LA County Fire Department sharing the photos at an awards gala on Feb 15, 2020.
After she saw it, she said felt revolted and started crying.
“He had his phone in front of him and they were looking at his phone. When I did glance, I saw them staring at his phone,” she testified.
“I was just disgusted, shocked and was just trying to hold my composure but I was emotional.”
Luella said she ultimately reported the incident to the fire department roughly three weeks later, despite risks related to her husband working there.
*warning, graphic image below
“What [Imbrenda] did was wrong. Something had to be done … I didn’t want to see it happen again,” she explained.
In her lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant claims deputies and fire personnel shared photos of her late husband’s mangled corpse from a helicopter crash scene in January 2020. Her daughter Gianna, 13, also died in the crash.
On Thursday, a bartender testified that a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy showed him photos of her late-NBA legend husband’s gory crash scene.