Photo of battered Rihanna surfaces on Internet

By Alexandra Heilbron on February 21, 2009 | 28 Comments

rihanna_tattoo_1.jpgA photo of Rihanna taken after Chris Brown allegedly beat her has been posted on TMZ, and it’s clearly her — note the tattoo on her left shoulder in the TMZ photo (click the link above), which matches the tattoo seen in this photo, taken earlier that night at a pre-Grammy party. The LAPD has released a statement saying: “The Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Section began receiving numerous inquiries about the release of a photograph associated with a domestic violence incident that occurred February 8, 2009, involving entertainer Chris Brown. The photograph appeared on an entertainment website… The Department launched an immediate internal investigation.” After seeing the photo, a doctor told Entertainment Tonight that the beating may cost Rihanna her singing voice — depending on if her vocal cords were damaged during the choking, and if the cuts at the side of her mouth cause permanent disfiguration.

Comments & Discussion

  1. demigod • February 21, 2009 @ 3:26 AM

    Judging by the leaked pic, her eyes don’t look swollen shut as reports indicated, just closed..but yea, he did a real number on her.

  2. Kaiya • February 21, 2009 @ 9:07 AM

    I wonder how he made those welts on her forehead.

  3. nat • February 21, 2009 @ 12:14 PM

    this guys in a lot of trouble.

  4. Nancy • February 21, 2009 @ 3:54 PM

    Because they are both in the public eye and being commented on daily about this assault, I think the photo should have been released immediately after the incident so that the public could see just how “horrific” the assault actually was. BUT, I don’t agree with someone (possibly a police officer) releasing the photo without Ms. Fenty’s (Rihanna’s) consent to do so.

  5. Caroline • February 22, 2009 @ 12:30 AM

    Honestly after seeing that photo he must have just been punching the hell out of her

  6. mandee • February 22, 2009 @ 4:47 AM

    wonder how many people are now going to start carrying on about how its HER fault and ohh poor chris etc…its right there, in the picture. clearly, you cant provoke anyone that badly. also, lets hope it doesnt ruin her singing voice, that would be terrible, i wonder how much money she would get when she sued him for ruining her life and her career if she cant sing? he probably wouldnt have a dime left when she was done, given all the money she COULD have made for the next at least 10 years singing. this is a horrible situation and i am truly hoping he gets to spend at least a few years in prison so some of his cell mates can return the favour.

  7. Jo-Anne. • February 22, 2009 @ 1:18 PM

    I personally wouldn’t have any interest in seeing this or any other horrific graphic abuse photos of anyone…I strongly feel the public has no business seeing this as well, however if it is to be released, for sure, obviously only under the consent of the victim…

    I think the detailed description of her injuries should more than suffice

    The picture in my mind is the only picture I would want to be left with…

  8. A Canadian • February 22, 2009 @ 1:18 PM

    Rihanna — If he hits you once — its HIS fault. If he hits you twice — its YOUR fault – for staying with him. GET OUT NOW!!

  9. Nancy • February 22, 2009 @ 2:57 PM

    The reason why I think the photo should have been released earlier (by Rihanna), is so that everyone could see what a monster Chris Brown really is with their own eyes…not just hearsay and gossip.

  10. Jo-Anne. • February 22, 2009 @ 3:10 PM

    I understand that, Nancy, and I am sure many agree with that concept, I have always felt though as a society we are too focused on the gorey details and I think it’s gone far beyond hearsay now, Brown will be regarded as a monster by many.

    I also feel it demoralizes the victim and strips away any pride they have left…I know if it was myself, daughter, mother, friend…I definitely would refuse the photo being published.

    Some people want the public to see it ALL, I guess, so if that’s their choice to release their battered and bloodied image on display to everyone, it’s their choice. I’m only saying it’s not mine.

  11. Jo-Anne. • February 22, 2009 @ 3:13 PM

    I understand that, Nancy, and I am sure many agree with that concept, I have always felt though as a society we are too focused on the gorey details and I think its gone far beyond hearsay now, Brown will be regarded as a monster by many.

    I also feel it demoralizes the victim and strips away any pride they have leftI know if it was myself, daughter, mother, friendI definitely would refuse the photo being published.

    Some people want the public to see it ALL, I guess, so if thats their choice to release their battered and bloodied image on display to everyone, its their choice. Im only saying its not mine.

  12. demigod • February 22, 2009 @ 6:53 PM

    Are you kidding Jo? There are blood-thirsty,voyeuristic crowds eager to have a glimpse of the pics for entertainment and shock value purposes 🙂

  13. David • February 22, 2009 @ 7:45 PM


    The whole point of not releasing the photos is so that Chris Brown gets a fair trial. Would you want someone with their mind already made up showing up for jury-duty? I didn’t think so.

    What’s worse is that there’s circulating photoshopped pictures going around, confusing the issue even more so.

  14. Nancy • February 22, 2009 @ 9:51 PM

    “Would you want someone with their mind already made up showing up for jury-duty?”

    In Chris Brown’s case…YES!! I hope he gets his 7 years in the big house with a 350 lb cell mate named ‘Tiny’.

  15. Kaiya • February 22, 2009 @ 11:43 PM

    Seeing the photo was quite shocking, hopefully the men who’ve been joking about abuse will be ashamed after seeing the damage to her face. It’s a sobering thought to think that her vocal chords may be permanently damaged. As for a jury, they would see this photo during the trial. People who are biased will be weeded out during jury selection – both sides get to pick the jury in the States. I don’t see how this photo would make a difference one way or the other.

  16. David • February 23, 2009 @ 3:17 AM

    Just so I can understand you better, you’re saying that a citizen of the United States of America is not entitled to a fair trial as granted to him under the constitution?

  17. Nancy • February 23, 2009 @ 9:06 AM

    Was Rihanna treated “fairly” by Chris?

  18. Jo-Anne. • February 23, 2009 @ 10:19 AM

    I really agree with your points, David. It is so easy, and understandably it can be so, that many fall into the vigilante mentality when this kind of story surfaces, and it is very reflective on many story lines on this site as well…

    We’ve all been subjected to the laws don’t protect the innocent, etc. a million arguments that do even ring true at times, but my belief is wishing Dexter replace jury members is not the way to go…

    The point you make about the jury member with their mind made up is very accurate too, and again I think is refelective in the general public who have people condemned and ready to hang before all the info even surfaces.

    Much info is not released due to possible tainting of the case (and I am not referring particularly to this case here now) and info that is released in many instances, has been found to be inaccurate or embellished or even completely false upon re-examination. Again, I repeat, not referring to this case, to hopefully stop the onslaught of those in favour of showing the battered photo…

    That is why it is so hard to choose a jury in a case such as this, should it come to that, obviously it would be extremely difficult to find an “unbiased” representation. That’s possibly why some opt to go judge alone, with no jury…

    anyhow, good points…

  19. Peter • February 23, 2009 @ 10:38 AM

    I can understand how most people would call the picture “horrific” but I have seen people on Cops seemingly beaten up worse than that. I can’t understand why they would say it was “horrific”, and why they would need to drive her to the hospital themselves — you RARELY, if ever, hear about the police doing something like that. Watch “Cops” and you will see them basically stand around waiting for Fire Dept or Ambulance.

    I don’t say this to minimize what happened to her, but just to point out that despite their official protesting of the “leaking” of the photo, they stirred things up themselves by their own description of the events right from the beginning.

    I would be interested to hear from people who may work in the medical field if, in comparison to the injuries they see and treat daily, these would be considered “horrific” and if a standard protocol of waiting for trained medical personnel be waived by police to take her to the hospital themselves.

    Again, I’M NOT MINIMIZING WHAT HAPPENED TO HER. I’m trying to understand if what happened is that different from the average victim, and whether she is/was being treated differently because of the celebrity angle.

  20. Nancy • February 23, 2009 @ 12:00 PM

    Well, some people (me included) believe that criminals should have no rights…after all, they took the victims rights away, didn’t they? That’s one of the big problems with todays society, criminals have more rights than anyone else…why should they?

  21. mandee • February 23, 2009 @ 3:14 PM

    i agree with you completely nancy.

  22. tributegirl • February 23, 2009 @ 4:15 PM

    Peter, I work in the medical field, and sometimes we see much worse than this, although thankfully not that often. I do agree with one point you made, just judging from the photo’s I would say that the police did not have to take her to the hospital, an ambulance should have done the job. That being said, I wasn’t there, maybe it was worse than what I’ve seen.

  23. Peter • February 23, 2009 @ 4:26 PM

    So tributegirl, again not minimizing the whole situation and what happened to her, do you think she may have been treated differently by the cops because of who she is and where she was found (supposedly some expensive area of LA)?

  24. tributegirl • February 23, 2009 @ 4:43 PM

    Personally, I think yes. I could be wrong, and would like to be wrong in this case, but yes, I think she probably was treated much differently because of who she is and where she was.

  25. tributegirl • February 23, 2009 @ 4:45 PM

    And I’m not trying to minimize it either, Peter, it was a horrible thing that happened to her, but I do think that if she was just a regular joe(elle?) she would have been treated much differently.

  26. Nancy • February 23, 2009 @ 4:46 PM

    Or, maybe because of the John Travolta blackmail photos they didn’t want the same to happen in this case..? Or maybe they wanted what is happening now, to get the photo and sell it to TMZ themselves!

  27. tributegirl • February 23, 2009 @ 8:50 PM

    Ahhh, yeah, you know, I hadn’t thought of it from that angle. That is possible too.

  28. mandee • February 23, 2009 @ 11:31 PM

    yeah, me either. good thinking nancy.

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