Vanessa Bryant was awarded $16 million in damages after a federal grand jury found Los Angeles County authorities took photos at the scene of the deadly helicopter crash that killed her husband, NBA star Kobe Bryant, and her daughter, Gianna Bryant, and shared them.
Vanessa sued the county for invasion of privacy, negligence, and emotional distress after it was revealed that a sheriff’s deputy shared up-close photos from the crash site with at least 28 sheriff’s deputies and a dozen firefighters.
During the trial, it was revealed that images of the crash site were passed around a firefighters’ awards banquet.
One deputy testified about sharing photos with another deputy while they played video games together.
Security footage from a bar captured one cop showing the bartender and another patron images from the crash site.
It is believed that the gruesome images were shared with more than 30 different people.
Vanessa Bryant testified that her biggest fear is that the photos will eventually leak online or on social media.
“I don’t want my children to ever come across them,” she said. “I have three little girls.”
Vanessa said, “I felt like I wanted to run, run down the block and scream,” when she learned the photos existed.
“It was like the feeling of wanting to run down a pier and jump into the water. The problem is I can’t escape. I can’t escape my body.”
Vanessa’s co-plaintiff Christopher Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash, was awarded $15 million.
Their attorneys originally asked the jury to award $75 million in damages.
Chester’s attorney Jerome Jackson told jurors, “You can’t award too much money for what they went through. What they went through is inhuman and inhumane.”
The California state Legislature passed in 2020 a law barring first responders from snapping unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident.
Vanessa Bryant took to social media and shared a photo of herself, Kobe, and Gigi along with the caption, “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi! #Betonyourself #MambaDay 8•24•22 💜💛💜💛 #MambaMentality“
See the post below.
I wish all of the officials involved with passing around the photos were criminally charged as well.
My prayers are with all of the families impacted by this tragedy.
Source: NY Daily News