LAPD: Shooting Photos of Rihanna Is Worse Than Shooting Innocent People

The cop who took pictures of Rihanna after she was beaten by Chris Brown was fired, while the officers who fired 103 bullets into a truck with two unarmed women inside were given additional training. Seems fair.

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Rebecca Reyes is the (former) LAPD officer who took photos of Rihanna the night she was beaten by Chris Brown. Reyes sent them to friends and co-workers, and then, somehow, those photos then made it to TMZ. Reyes was fired. Today, that firing was upheld in a Los Angeles court.

"At a minimum, the public is entitled to protection from unprofessional employees whose conduct places people at risk of injury and the government at risk of incurring liability," the judge wrote in his ruling, per the AP.

The decision to fire Reyes was made by a disciplinary panel and police chief Charlie Beck in 2012 after a three year investigation into the leak. Enough evidence was found to fire Reyes, but not bring criminal charges against her. Reyes maintained that she did not sell the photo to TMZ, though admitted that it was one of the photos she took that made it to the site.   

Meanwhile, the eight LAPD officers who shot 103 bullets into a pick-up truck they believed was being driven by a suspected cop killer were disciplined with additional training. They could have been suspended or even fired, but police chief Charlie Beck -- the same man who decided Reyes should be fired -- decided that their actions did not warrant such harsh punishment.

Just to be clear: those actions were shooting a truck that was a different make, model and color than the one they were looking for and was driven by two Hispanic women delivering newspapers rather than the one black man with a vendetta against cops. And shooting it 103 times, hitting one of the women twice. The city gave the women $4.2 million and new truck.

"I sympathize with the officers, but I have a very high standard for the application of deadly force, and the shooting did not meet that standard," Beck said at the time.

So: leaking photos of a famous person who was the victim of a horrific assault is conduct that "places people at risk of injury and the government at risk of incurring liability" and merits dismissal. Shooting two unarmed but not famous women and exposing the city to a $4 million settlement won't even get you suspended. 

What Reyes did was very wrong. Instead of serving and protecting the public, Reyes exposed an abused woman's injuries to the entire world. She should have been fired for it. But I don't see how it was worse than what those eight officers did.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.