Image of Battered Rihanna Released

A photo of battered-looking music superstar Rihanna has been obtained by the entertainment Web site TMZ.com. The photo was reportedly taken by police after her boyfriend Chris Brown allegedly assaulted her the night of the Grammy awards nearly two weeks ago. In the photo, the singer's lips appear swollen, she has welts on her forehead and bruises on her eyes, nose and cheeks. Rihanna, who turns 21 today, was also bitten on the arm, according to TMZ. The photo could determine whether criminal charges will be brought against Brown, 19, and the severity of those charges. "If there's just swelling then Chris Brown may get away with simply being charged as a misdemeanor. If that picture does in fact depict broken bones, facial fractures, contusions, then he's looking at a felony and probable jail time," said ABC News legal analyst Dana Cole. Brown, an R&B superstar, was arrested Feb. 8 and booked on suspicion of making felonious criminal threats to a woman whom authorities have not publicly identified. The publication of the photo has created another controversy. The Los Angeles Police Department launched an internal investigation and asked for the public's help in finding the person who leaked it. A police news release said the image "has the appearance" of one taken during a domestic violence investigation, and classified its release as a case of serious misconduct that could result in termination. In an interview with ABC News Radio, TMZ.com news manager Mike Walters asserted his organization obtained the photo legally. "To my knowledge and to TMZ's knowledge, this is not a photo from the LAPD ... TMZ legally obtained this photo and we posted it on our website," Walters said. "This photo is a story in itself, it doesn't need any text or editorial judgment. It tells a thousand words."