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Featured Image Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy. Sarah Stewart / Alamy.
Vanessa Bryant will donate the $16 million compensation awarded in a lawsuit against Los Angeles County to her late husband Kobe’s sports foundation.
The widow of the NBA legend will be giving a portion of the proceeds to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation which aims to offer sports education to undeserved athletes, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mrs Bryant was awarded the damages after personnel connected to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department were found to have unlawfully captured and shared images of the aircraft crash that killed Kobe and their daughter Gianna.
The foundation started in 2016 as the Mamba Sports Foundation, named after Kobe’s nickname Black Mamba.
The charity was renamed in 2020 in order to honour both Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna who died alongside her father in a fatal helicopter crash.
The Los Angeles County was also forced to pay $15 million to Chris Chester who lost his daughter and wife in the crash for the hurt caused by county personnel who shared photos of the crash victims’ bodies.
Additionally, relatives of others killed in the helicopter crash were awarded $2.5 million in compensation after launching a similar lawsuit.
Bryant’s attorney Luis Li said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times: “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.
“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.”
During the trial, Mrs Bryant said she lived in fear that the photos would pop up again and cause her to relive the trauma of losing her husband and daughter.
She told the court: “I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way that they were.”
The doting mum added: “I don't ever want to see these photographs. I have three little girls!"
Soon after the accident, allegations that first responders had shared crash site photos first came to light in the Los Angeles Times.
Bryant said: “I trusted them not to do these things."
The trial heard how first responders shared the grim photographs to members of the public.
A bartender was shown the images and a deputy allegedly messaged them to a friend.