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Firing of LAPD officer upheld in case of leaked Rihanna beating photo

The firing of a Los Angeles police officer in connection with a leaked photo of Rihanna after she was beaten by Chris Brown was upheld by a judge this week, the officer’s attorney said.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin ruled Thursday that the LAPD’s firing of Officer Rebecca Reyes was justified after she photographed an evidence photo of the pop singer’s bruised and swollen face.

Rihanna’s photo was ultimately published on the celebrity gossip site TMZ, but police and county prosecutors did not turn up evidence directly tying Reyes or other officers to the leak.

“Those pictures were everywhere at the station,” said Reyes’ attorney, Ira Salzman.

Photos of Rihanna’s injuries were left stacked on a desk where anyone in the station could see them, according to a report from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. However, Reyes did acknowledge taking a photo of the top photo in the stack -- the picture that ended up on the TMZ site six days later.

Reyes and another officer were placed on paid leave for more than two years while an internal investigation was conducted and were later relieved of duty without pay. The second officer connected with the leak -- Blanca Lopez -- remains on the force, Salzman said.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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