A photograph of a battered Rihanna hit the internet last night, sparking public outrage. The photo was reportedly taken by the Los Angeles Police Department after her boyfriend Chris Brown allegedly assaulted her on Feb. 8.

In the pic, which was originally posted by entertainment Web site TMZ.com, the singer's face is clearly swollen and it appears as though the pop/R&B diva has welts on her forehead and bruises on her eyes, nose and cheeks.

The leaked photo has sparked controversy and the LAPD launched an internal investigation, asking for the public's help in finding the person who illegally obtained and distributed the disturbing image.

According to an official police statement, the image "has the appearance of one taken during an official Domestic Violence investigation." The statement goes on to stress the impropriety of the image being released to the media. "The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence."

Rihanna, who turns 21 on today (Feb. 21), has yet to release a statement regarding the incident which took place almost two weeks ago. However, the singer's family has spoken out about the incident.

Brown released a statement on Sunday. In the statement released via his rep, the crooner stressed his regret. "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired," he said. "I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother, and other loved ones and I am committed, with God's help, to emerge a better person."

According to police reports, Brown and Rihanna were allegedly engaged in a heated argument following record executive Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party. The fight allegedly became physical and Rihanna was left with bruises on her body, contusions on her forehead, and bite marks. Brown, who fled the scene before cops arrived, later turned himself in right before his scheduled Grammy arrival. He was booked under the felony charge of making criminal threats and released on $50,000 bail.

Stars Behaving Badly

    Winehouse is pictured attacking a Matrix Photos photographer, the singer opened her door and lunged at our snapper as he stood chatting with the other waiting snappers. Amy's jail bird husband was release from Pentonville Prison earlier today, Blake left Prison and headed straight for a rehab clinic in a secret location outside of London


    Courtney Love flashes David Letterman while standing on his desk during the taping of "The Late Show with David Letterman," Wednesday, March 17, 2004, in New York.

    J.P. Filo, CBS / AP Photo

    Courtney Love

    Chris Polk, FilmMagic

    Lindsay Lohan playing with knife during party.


    Lindsay Lohan playing with knife during party.


    Lindsay Lohan collapses after night of partying with girlfriend Samantha Ronson at Teddy's. May 28, 2007

    AlphaX / X17online.com

    Avril Lavigne leaving club LAX salutes her fans with a finger. September 9, 2005

    Tuan Pham, X17agency.com

    Nicole Richie carried away by fiance DJ AM from Kirtsen Dunst's party in the Hollywood Hills. August 25, 2005


    Slightly drunk Paris Hilton. Nov 16, 2006

    Photon, X17online.com

    Joel Madden pleads with a camerman for some space while out in West Hollywood, Ca.

    London Entertainment / Splash News

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