Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trouble in Paradise

Everyone has heard about the drama between Rihanna and Chris Brown, pictured above, a once happy couple. On February 8, 2009, after getting in an argument in Brown’s car, he assaulted her, and didn’t stop until she started calling for help, which was when he abandoned her and the car and walked away, and a neighbor called the police.

This is what Rihanna looked like when the police came to question and photograph her:

What you don’t really hear about as often is the police officers behind the case. Most people have seen the pictures of a battered Rihanna, which first appeared on the gossip website, TMZ, on February 19, 2009, not even two weeks after the event. When I saw the picture, I wondered how it had been leaked to the public and figured that Rihanna probably was not the one who released it, because who would want to share a picture like that? As a criminal justice major, I was more interested in that question than the assault itself. I knew that this picture definitely was not supposed to be shown to the public, especially based on the grainy consistency of the image, it was clear that this photo was released illegally.
On The Smoking Gun, I came across an article about the investigation of the leak. As it turns out, only a small number of officers had access to the photo, so the Internal Affairs Group was able to narrow down the leak to two officers, Rebecca Reyes and Blanca Lopez. Now, while they are still deciding what punishments should entail, IF any, Reyes and Lopez have been on PAID administrative leave for over 30 MONTHS! Reyes’ lawyer said that the Internal Affairs Group’s finding contained “no criminal allegations.”

Here, you can view The Smoking Gun article, and documents from the case:

I am confused as to why the officers are not being charged, and why they have been on paid vacations for over two years. They took a private police evidence photo and most likely sold it to this gossip website, yet they are not facing charges and have not been fired, all the while they are being paid to not come into work.
I know stuff like this gets leaked all the time, and most of the time no one has access to it besides the police officers themselves, so it must be coming from within. It is not often that you hear about police officers being fired, or even reprimanded for this kind of behavior. I work at Subway, and I feel like this kind of behavior is on the same level, if not worse, than it would be for me to give out free subs at work. How is it acceptable to give away things that should not be out in the public?

As far as I can tell, the moral of the story here is: police officers can do illegal things—like selling confidential evidence—and be rewarded for it with, let’s say, a two year paid vacation. 


  1. I think this is a really interesting post and I agree with what you are saying. First I was surprised to find out that the officers who leaked the photos have been on paid leave for 30 months. That time period is extremely lengthy and you would think that some decisions on consequences would be made during that time. In cases like this with celebrities people are curious and want to know what has happened but the police officers involved should still work in a professional manor and keep the case private. It is upsetting that someone in this field would leak this picture of someone who has gone through and event like this and is in the public eye. I believe there should be consequences for this behavior.

  2. Interesting post. Hard to believe these two police officers have been on paid leave for over two years now. If they were the ones who leaked the photo to the media, instead of putting them both on leave, they should of been fired. In most work places that is what would happen.

  3. I agree with josh and liz when i say this is a very interesting post. Its crazy to think that two police officers people that are there to protect and serve, are selling evidence pictures just so they can get money. Wow if i was Rihanna i would of pressed charges because thats crazy your personal business all out in public like that. This police department is telling their officers that they can do whatever they want because they won't get fired, they would just be on leave with pay, that is so unfair.

  4. Where is this money coming from that two officers can get a paid leave of absence for 30 months? There's something missing here. I don't believe any police department would pay officers not to come to work at a time when budgets are thin. Who ever did release the photo has committed a serious ethical violation.

  5. It makes sense that the officers leaked rihannas picture for money. However, when the department found out these women should have definitely been fired. It’s pretty unbelievable that they were on paid leave for 2 years. What they did was extremely wrong and embarrassing for Rihanna who was clearly already in a bad state. If I were she I would press charges. It’s sad that celebrities who are in the public eye have to face the public when a personal terrible event occurs. These officers should feel terrible about what they did because of how it could have affected Rihanna. Worst of all they probably don’t feel bad because they still are getting paid from their department.

  6. I cannot believe that they are on and have been on paid leave for 30 months...first of all, that time period seems a little excessive, I feel like their case should have been resolved at this point. Second of all, how are they getting PAID leave? It's like they are getting paid to take a vacation...

    I think that the officers should have been fired for this conduct. It is obvious they did it for money. Not only that, is highly unethical to do.