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Police release basketball star's mug shot only on the Web

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Police release basketball star’s mug shot only on the Web

  • Under pressure from news media, a sheriff released a mug shot of Kobe Bryant on a Web site, but has refused to release a copy suitable for print publication and continues to withhold dispatch records.

July 16, 2003 — The Eagle County Sheriff’s Department in Eagle, Colo., near Vail, released a mug shot of Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant July 11 on a Web site, a week after the basketball star turned himself into police.

Bryant, a five-time NBA All-Star, was arrested for an alleged attack June 30 of a 19-year-old woman who works at a resort in Edwards, Colo., where he was staying in connection with surgery he was having in Glenwood Springs.

Bryant told reporters he is innocent of the crimes with which he is charged. The District Attorney had not decided whether to pursue the case. No records concerning the arrest are being released.

Several news organizations challenged Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy’s attempt to keep the mug shot secret. According to The Associated Press, Hoy made the photo available only on a Web site and only after consulting with attorneys.

AP attorney David Tomlin said that the photo was released by local authorities only after local reporters did some “arm wrestling” with the sheriff’s office. The AP has filed a request under the state’s open records law for an actual copy of the photo.

A hearing was scheduled today at the request of the Vail Daily and other newspapers on the failure of Eagle County authorities to provide dispatch records in the case.


© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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