TheRoot.com, By Noah A. McGee, Posted September 1st 2022
Vanessa Bryant will donate to charity all of the $16 million she was awarded in the lawsuit over the distribution of photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna, according to the Los Angeles Times.
All of the proceeds will go to the Mamba and Mabacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys & girls in sports,” according to its website.
Created in 2016, the foundation was initially called the Mamba Sports Foundation, named after Kobe’s nickname, Black Mamba. The charity was renamed in 2020, shortly after the death of Kobe and Gianna to honor their legacy.
Hours after the devastating crash, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene took a number of photographs without authorization, including pictures of some of the victims that have been described as “gruesome.” Many of the photos were shared with others through text messages and at social gatherings, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In the verdict, Vanessa will split the $31 million that Los Angeles County was ordered to pay her with Chris Chester, a man who lost his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, in the crash on January 26, 2020. Chester will take home $15 million.
During the past two weeks, Vanessa Bryant gave emotional testimony about the trauma her family had suffered and her fear that one day the pictures could eventually surface online. Testimony also came from an official from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, who detailed that out of 1,250 pictures of the crash scene that became part of the official investigation, 300 featured images of the victims. At no time were L.A. County sheriffs asked to take pictures of the scene, the official said.
Most of the victims were visually unidentifiable because of the “extreme” condition of their bodies following the crash and massive fire that followed, said Emily Tauscher, the coroner’s office’s head of investigations.
The verdict came down the night of August 24th, which is now celebrated as Mamba Day by fans of Kobe and the Lakers. The date matches the numbers that Kobe wore as a player, 8 and 24.