Eight months after a police photo of a bruised and bloody Rihanna appeared on TMZ, the Los Angeles Police Department has put a pair of female officers on leave as part of the ongoing investigation into the leak.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday (September 11) that unidentified law-enforcement sources familiar with the case identified the officers as Rebecca M. Reyes, a nine-year veteran of the department, and her roommate, rookie officer Blanca Lopez.
The photo of Rihanna was taken after her assault at the hands of former boyfriend Chris Brown, 20, on February 8. Brown turned himself in and later pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault. He was sentenced to 180 days of community labor and five years of probation. Two weeks after the incident, the photo of a battered Rihanna appeared on TMZ.
The gossip site would not reveal the supplier of the photo at the time, and an internal investigation was launched by the LAPD to determine the source of the leak. An attorney for Reyes told the Times that a search warrant in connection with the leak investigation had been served on her Los Angeles home. Lawyer Ira Salzman confirmed that Reyes had been “assigned to home,” pending the outcome of the investigation, and said she had done nothing illegal and that no formal allegations against her had been presented by the LAPD yet. Describing Reyes as a decorated officer, Salzman would not comment on whether his client had taken the picture of Rihanna or possessed it at any time.
“My client did not do anything for financial gain,” Salzman said. “She did not sell the photo.”
An attorney for Lopez declined to comment on the investigation, and LAPD officials would not comment to the paper on who took the photograph, how TMZ obtained it, whether the photo was taken with a personal device or department-issued equipment and how much, if any money, may have been paid to officers or their associates for the image.
Rihanna’s attorney, Donald Etra, said on Thursday that he was pleased police had made progress on the case, adding that no victim should have to worry about such photographs being leaked.
A California state law went into effect this year that makes it a misdemeanor for law-enforcement officers or employees to profit by leaking confidential reports or images. The LAPD has also adopted strict rules about recording still or video images at crime scenes.