Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late LA Lakers great Kobe Bryant, was awarded $16 million in damages by a federal jury on Wednesday, and has committed to donating the proceeds to charity.
Los Angeles County has been ordered to pay up the astronomical sum after the 2020 helicopter crash that took the lives of Kobe, the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others, after first responders took pictures of their remains at the scene and distributed them to others.
Bryant testified that she lives “in fear” of her or the couple’s two daughters stumbling across the images on social media.
“I don’t ever want to see these photographs. I want to remember them as they were,” she remarked. “I don’t want my children to ever come across them.”
A jury of nine people determined that LA County Sheriff’s Department Vanessa’s constitutional rights for failing to instruct their employees about photo-sharing protocols at accident scenes. Another plaintiff, Chris Chester, whose wife died in the Calabasas, California helicopter crash, was awarded $15 million.
After Wednesday’s verdict, Bryant posted a photo of herself and Kobe along with the caption: “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi! #Betonyourself #MambaDay 8•24•22 #MambaMentality.”
According to a Thursday report by the Los Angeles Times, Bryant’s lawyer announced that she has pledged the entire $16 million sum to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, the non-profit Kobe started in 2016, which was renamed after the father-daughter duo’s deaths.
The foundation is “dedicated to creating a positive impact for underserved athletes and boys & girls in sports,” by providing funding and sports programming to enable participation in school and league sports, according to the NPO’s website.