Shaquille O’Neal Supports Vanessa Bryant For Trying To Make People Responsible

Shaquille O'Neal Supports Vanessa Bryant For Trying To Make People Responsible

Shaquille O’Neal never had a close relationship with Vanessa Bryant; yet he is proud of her for staying strong and trying to hold people accountable during her Los Angeles County lawsuit. In an interview with ETspoke the retired basketball player about how Kobe Bryant‘s wife does the right thing.

“I feel for her,” Shaquille said. “We never talked much” [but] we have always respected each other. Every time I see her it’s a hug, it’s a smile. But I couldn’t imagine what she’s going through,” he added.

Shaquille O’Neal hugs Vanessa Bryant during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

“We live in a world where people don’t care, especially when it comes out on the internet. But those are pictures I would never, ever want to see, so she’s doing a great thing by holding people accountable,” he assures.

Bryant and the other families injured in the crash are suing the county and the sheriff for negligence and invasion of privacy. The Board of Trustees agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle, but the parties involved declined the offer. After the lawsuit, it is now considered a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of a place of death.

It’s been over two years since the crash and such photos have never been leaked; for Vanessa Bryant, however, there is a possibility that they will surface. “For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen, either close-up photos of my husband and daughter’s bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening,” Vanessa Bryant said in 2021.

Vanessa Bryant arrives at the US federal courthouse.GettyImages
Vanessa Bryant arrives in federal court to testify Friday in the lawsuit over graphic photos taken by first responders at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, their teenage daughter and seven others. Bryant photographed her arrival at the US Federal Courthouse on Friday, August 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.

On October 12, 2021, Vanessa appeared in a Zoom video conference to testify on the morning of the helicopter crash. According to the transcript, filed with the court on Friday, October 22, and obtained by E! News, Vanessa said that while she hasn’t seen any photos of her husband and daughter’s remains, she has the clothes Kobe and Gianna wore on the helicopter. “I had to get all their stuff back because I know people are sick and I’d love to take pictures of them and share them,” she said.

“They have suffered a lot,” she added. “And if their clothes represent the state of their bodies, I can’t imagine how someone could be insensitive and disrespect them or our friends, and just share the images as if they were animals on the street.”

Vanessa’s lawyer Luis Lic spoke about the emotional distress the images taken on January 26, 2020 have caused to the philanthropist and businesswoman. According to rolling stonethe lawyer showed the 10-member jury images of deputy Joey Cruz at the Baja California Bar & Grill in Norwalk, showing the footage to a bartender who then walked away.

Ralph Mendez, who was sitting at the bar, noted that Cruz had pictures of the crash site on his phone. After thinking about what to do next, Mendez decided to inform the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to prevent the images from leaking online.

Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash in Calabasas HillsGettyImages
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at a news conference about the helicopter crash that killed NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others on January 27, 2020, in Calabasas, California.

On August 15, 2022, the retired Los Angeles County Fire Chief Brian Jordan had to take several breaks while on the witness stand. Jordan ran away three times after being questioned about the photos of Kobe Bryant’s remains during the 2020 helicopter crash that killed 13-year-old daughter Kobe Bryant Gianna Bryant13 years old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester46, 14 years old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobellic56, Christina Mauser38, and pilot Ara Zobayan50.

Vanessa’s representative said first responders “walked around the wreckage and took pictures of broken bodies from the helicopter crash. They took close-ups of limbs, of burnt flesh. It shocks the conscience.” The jury also heard audio from an officer’s wife who refused to see the footage because it was “piles of meat.”

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