Vanessa Bryant will be donating the $16 million verdict she was awarded in her case against Los Angeles County to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation — the nonprofit organization founded by her late husband, a report said.
The organization, launched by Kobe Bryant after his retirement in 2016 as the Mamba Sports Foundation — a nod to his nickname, The Black Mamba — provides funding and sports programming for young athletes in underserved communities, according to its website.
Vanessa Bryant said Thursday she was donating the verdict proceeds to the foundation to “to shine a light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The foundation was later renamed in 2020 after the 41-year-old NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash, according to the report.
A federal jury ruled Wednesday that LA County must pay Vanessa Bryant $16 million after first responders snapped and shared grisly 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 sought only accountability, but our legal system does not permit her to force better policies, more training or officer discipline,” her attorney Luis Li said in a statement to the paper. “Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff’s and fire departments — responsibilities that Mrs. Bryant’s efforts have exposed as woefully deficient, even giving amnesty to the wrongdoers.”
After an 11-day trial, jurors unanimously found that the LA County Sheriff’s Department violated the constitutional rights of Bryant and Chester when they failed to train their employees on accident scene picture-sharing protocol.
In his statement, Li told The Times Bryant and Chester “brought to light the decades old practice of taking and sharing photos of accident and crime victims for no legitimate purpose.”
“It is Mrs. Bryant’s hope that this important civil rights case will put to a stop this abhorrent and callous behavior,” he added.
During the trial, Bryant and Chester’s attorneys chronicled how photos of the victims’ remains from the crash scene were shared between employees from LA County sheriff’s and fire departments 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 “fear every day of being on social media and these popping up.”