A photo of Rihanna, alleged taken after her altercation with boyfriend Chris Brown, surfaced Thursday night on celebrity news website TMZ.com. The shocking photo, below, shows the 21-year-old singer bruised across her face, black around the eyes, and bleeding at the mouth, and has spurred an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department into the source of its leak.
Photo courtesy TMZ
"The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence," the a spokesman said in a statement. "A violation of this type is considered serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination." The statement does not name the victim in the photo, but claims "the photograph appeared on an entertainment website" and "has the appearance of one taken during an official Domestic Violence investigation."
The Roman Numeral tattoo on the subject's left shoulder, however, matches recent photos of Rihanna.
According to CNN, the chief investigator in the case, Detective Deshon Andrews, said authorities had tried to guard against leaks. He added that he had kept the case file closely guarded and that no copies had been made of the original photos and documents.
In the wake of the photo's leak, Rihanna has released her first statement since her altercation with Brown. "At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," read a statement from her representatives. "She wants to assure her fans that she remains strong, is doing well, and deeply appreciates the outpouring of support she has received during this difficult time."
Meanwhile, Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, is outraged with the LAPD for not keeping the photo under wraps. "Sloppy work on their part," Fenty told People.com.
Earlier this week Fenty also said he thinks Rihanna should "move out" from her situation with Brown, who might be facing attempted murder as well as domestic violence charges, based on allegations made by Rihanna.