Picture of bruised Rihanna sparks police probe

By Alex Dobuzinskis

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 20, 2009 at 8:10 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The first picture of a
bruised and bloodied Rihanna after her alleged assault by
singer Chris Brown has surfaced on the Internet, prompting an
investigation by Los Angeles police into how it was leaked.

Celebrity website TMZ.com said its photo of the
Barbados-born singer, who turned 21 Friday, was taken after
she was beaten Feb. 8 after leaving a pre-Grammy Awards
party with R&B star Brown, her boyfriend of more than a year.

It shows the "Umbrella" singer with her eyes closed and her
lower lip bloodied and swollen. There are also bruises and
blood streaks on her cheek and two long, thin marks on her
forehead.

"At the request of the authorities, Rihanna is not
commenting about the incident involving Chris Brown," her
representatives said in a statement Friday.

"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."

Police and prosecutors have not officially disclosed that
Rihanna was the victim of Brown's assault, although she has
been widely named in numerous media stories and Friday's
statement appeared to indicate that.

Brown, 19, who had hits with "Run It!" and "Forever," was
arrested Feb. 8 on suspicion of making criminal threats
against a woman and prosecutors are deciding whether to file
charges against him.

The clean-cut, rising star with a huge teen fan base said
last week he was "sorry and saddened" about the incident and
was seeking counseling.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the leak
of the photo from its files, saying in a statement it "takes
seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims
of domestic violence."

The photo of Rihanna was "disturbing," her father Ronald
Fenty told Us magazine Friday.

"It's good and it's bad to see the picture because there's
other people who were thinking differently, that (Rihanna's
injuries) may not be that bad, just a little spank or a little
thing," Fenty told the magazine.

Both Rihanna and Brown pulled out of scheduled performances
at the Grammys after the incident and have canceled other
appearances. Rihanna was reported to be in Barbados recently.

People magazine Friday posted a photo on its website
that it said was of Rihanna wearing sunglasses in a car in Los
Angeles.
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)




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