Vanessa Bryant will donate the $16 million judgment she received in her Los Angeles County case to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded by her late husband, a report said.
The organization, founded by Kobe Bryant after his retirement in 2016 as the Mamba Sports Foundation — a nod to its nickname, The Black Mamba — provides funding and sports programs for young athletes in underserved communities, according to its website.
Vanessa Bryant said Thursday that she donated the proceeds of the verdict to the foundation to “shine light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The foundation was renamed later in 2020 after the 41-year-old NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, the report said.
A federal jury ruled Wednesday that LA County must pay Vanessa Bryant $16 million after first responders captured and shared horrific photos of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter and seven others.
The jurors also awarded $15 million to plaintiff Chris Chester, who lost his wife, Sarah, and daughter Payton in the Calabasas, California accident.
“From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has only sought accountability, but our legal system does not allow her to enforce better policies, more training or officer discipline,” her attorney Luis Li said in a statement to the newspaper. “Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff and firefighters — responsibilities that have exposed Ms. Bryant’s efforts as woefully inadequate, even giving amnesty to the violators.”
After an 11-day trial, the jurors unanimously found that the LA County Sheriff’s Department violated Bryant and Chester’s constitutional rights when they failed to train their employees on photo-sharing protocol at the scene of the accident.
In his statement, Li told The Times that Bryant and Chester “revealed the decades-old practice of taking and sharing photos of accident and crime victims for no legitimate purpose.”
“It is Ms Bryant’s hope that this important civil rights case will put an end to this abhorrent and callous behavior,” he added.
During the trial, Bryant and Chester’s attorneys documented how photos of the victims’ remains from the accident scene were shared between LA County Sheriff and Fire Department officers and seen by some of their spouses.
The photos have not been made public, but Bryant, 40, testified that the prospect of the images being leaked “made her scared every day to be on social media and it popped up.”