Vanessa Bryant’s Kobe Crash Photos Lawsuit Proceeds Will Be Donated To Charity
Vanessa Bryant plans to donate the proceeds of her $16 million judgement against Los Angeles County to a foundation named after her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, according to reports today.
Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation is a non-profit organisation that provides sports education to underserved athletes. The charity was renamed in 2020 to honour the Bryants’ 13-year-old basketball-playing daughter, Gianna, who died alongside her father in the January 2020 helicopter crash that prompted the lawsuit against the county. It was founded in 2016 as the Mamba Sports Foundation — the Lakers great’s nickname was Black Mamba — but it was renamed in 2016 to honour the Lakers great’s nickname, Black Mamba.
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Vanessa Bryant and a co-plaintiff were awarded $31 million in damages for photos of the Kobe crash.
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After an 11-day trial, a federal jury in Los Angeles ordered Los Angeles County to pay Bryant and an Orange County man who lost his daughter and wife in the crash $31 million for mental anguish caused by photos sheriff’s deputies and firefighters took and shared of the crash victims’ bodies.
Bryant will receive $16 million, while Chris Chester will receive $15 million. According to The Los Angeles Times, Bryant’s attorney stated that she was donating her portion to the foundation to “shine a light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.”
“From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has sought only accountability, but our legal system does not allow her to compel better policies, more training, or officer discipline,” her attorney, Luis Li, told the Times.
“Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff’s and fire departments — responsibilities that Mrs. Bryant’s efforts have exposed as woefully inadequate, even giving wrongdoers amnesty.”
Bryant “never faltered, even when the county attempted to force her to submit to an involuntary psychiatric examination,” he added.
Bryant is “deeply grateful” to private citizens Ralph Mendez and Luella Weireter, who complained to the sheriff’s department and fire department, respectively, about the photo sharing, according to Li’s statement. Mendez reported that a deputy was showing crash scene photos to a Norwalk bartender, while Weireter said that firefighters were sharing the photos at an awards gala in Universal City.
According to Li, the pair “brought to light the decades-old practise of photographing and sharing photos of accident and crime victims for no legitimate reason.” “It is Mrs. Bryant’s hope that this important civil rights case will put an end to this abhorrent and callous behaviour,” he added.
Bryant and Chester’s attorneys demonstrated to the jury how the photos spread from the phones of deputies and firefighters at the crash scene on a remote hillside in Calabasas on Jan. 26, 2020.
Li’s statement did not specify how much money would be given to the foundation.