A federal jury today ordered Los Angeles County to pay $31 million in damages over the actions of first-responders who snapped and shared gruesome photos from the scene of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people.
The damages were awarded to Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and co-plaintiff Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton also died in the Jan. 26, 2020, crash on a Calabasas hillside. The jury awarded Bryant $16 million and Chester $15 million.
Jurors in downtown Los Angeles reached their verdict after roughly four and a half hours of deliberations.
The award comes just one day after what would have been the Lakers legend’s 44th birthday. His wife posted,”Happy birthday, baby! I love you and miss you so much! #44,” on Instagram.
Today, coincidentally, was “Mamba Day” — the annual L.A. celebration of the life and career of the iconic shooting guard, who was also an Oscar winner for his short Dear Basketball.
The unofficial remembrance of Bryant, who was nicknamed Black Mamba, takes place every Aug. 24 — or 8/24, in a nod to the uniform numbers — 8 and 24 — that he wore during his 20-year Hall-of-Fame career.
A giant outdoor mural of Bryant was unveiled near downtown today, while the Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris wheel will be lit up in purple and gold starting at sunset.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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