urx unit loader Harvey Levin defends TMZ's use of leaked Rihanna pix

"The picture really tells such a powerful story," Harvey Levin says of the post-beating Rihanna photo he  posted on his TMZ website this week.

"This is a shocking picture," says Levin, defending the use of the photo, adding that he is not sure if it is a police photo.

The LAPD is  currently investigating who released and apparently sold this photo to TMZ.

Click on this link to see the controversial photo

Mediabuffet is reporting that Levin paid $62,500 for the photo. And it asks about the legal ramifications of releasing it, questioning if this leaked photo could affect  any trial or legal outcome.

Both Brown’s and Rihanna’s camps have been talking about this photo for weeks, Levin insists. And he says it has generated an interesting debate about cultural perceptions of domestic violence, even in his own office.

Not everyone Levin knows  feels Chris Brown should go to jail based on the photo, the TMZ honcho says. Levin finds this shocking.

What do you think?

A, Should TMZ have run this photo?

And B, if this is a photo of Rihanna after being allegedly assaulted, is this worse than you thought it would be? What should her attacker’s verdict be?

Related Rihanna, Chris Brown news:

Rihanna’s dad calls police photo "terrible and disturbing."

Police investigate leak of post-attack photo of Rihanna

Chris Brown defender Terrence Howard once arrested for hitting his wife.

Chris Brown feels ‘bad’ about Rihanna

Chris Brown just lost his ‘Got Milk?’ money

Chris Brown’s stepfather ‘not surprised’ at abuse allegations

Chris Brown loses Wrigley deal

Kanye West ‘devastated’ by Rihanna assault news

Credit: WireImage