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Rihanna

Rob Loud/Getty Images

The line between the public's right to know and tabloid sensationalism seems to get especially thin when a celebrity's involved.

Los Angeles police said Thursday that they have filed a personnel complaint and have opened an internal investigation into who leaked a closeup photograph of Rihanna's face purportedly taken after her Feb. 8 altercation with Chris Brown, which authorities are still investigating.

"The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence," read a statement issued tonight by the LAPD, which has yet to publicly identify Rihanna as the alleged victim in Brown's case.

"A violation of this type is considered serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination."

The police encourage anyone with information about how the photo got out in the first place to contact the department.

The LAPD says that it immediately launched an investigation after its media relations department was inundated with press inquiries about the picture, which first surfaced on TMZ.com and which appeared to the cops to be a photo taken "during an official Domestic Violence investigation."

The photograph making the rounds is a closeup of a young woman's face. Her eyes are closed and she looks to have sustained various cuts and bruises to her forehead, lips and cheeks.