There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the alleged incident that occurred on the morning of February 8 between Chris Brown and Rihanna. But for the Los Angeles Police Department, one of the most vexing issues in the alleged domestic violence case is the leak of a police photo of a battered Rihanna to the gossip site TMZ.
The release of the photo — which upset Rihanna's fans and her father, and caused serious concern from peers such as Bow Wow and Ne-Yo — is still being investigated by the LAPD, according to E! Online.
When the internal investigation was launched last week, TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin insisted that the image was obtained legally, though he would not reveal the source. The image shows a bruised and battered Rihanna, and it appears to have been taken after the alleged assault by Brown.
The LAPD has not formally identified Rihanna as the alleged victim because of protocol, but by launching the investigation into the photo leak, the department basically acknowledged that the photo appeared to have been taken during "an official domestic violence investigation." Releasing the photo is considered a serious breach of conduct and could result in termination.
"They said they were looking into it vigorously," LAPD spokesman Lt. John Romero reportedly told E!, referring to a statement made by an Internal Affairs commander at a meeting on Tuesday. An unidentified law-enforcement source reportedly told E! that police have identified the computer they believe the image was sent from, but not who sent it. A spokesperson for the LAPD told MTV News on Wednesday (February 25) that the department has a policy of not commenting on internal investigations.
Brown, who has not been charged in the case, turned himself in hours after the alleged incident and was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats. According to E!, unnamed law-enforcement sources have said that prosecutors are looking for evidence that could result in a felony case against the singer. The LAPD source also told MTV News that due to the overwhelming crush of attention on the case, the officer in charge of the investigation is not making any comments about its status at the present time and police are not discussing any potential charges.