November 5, 2013

Mass. sergeant who leaked Tsarnaev photos retires

Sgt. Sean Murphy was a 25-year veteran who faced unknown penalties for violating numerous department rules and regulations.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A Massachusetts state police photographer who leaked dramatic photos of the bloodied Boston Marathon bombing suspect during his capture has retired, just days after he was disciplined for his actions, the agency said Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

In this Friday, April 19, 2013 Massachusetts State Police file photo, 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, bloody and disheveled with the red dot of a rifle laser sight on his forehead, raises his hand from inside a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Mass. According to State police spokesman David Procopio, Sgt. Sean Murphy, the state police photographer who released this photo and others of the bloodied Tsarnaev during his capture, retired Nov. 1, 2013, days after internal charges against him were upheld for releasing the images.

AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police, Sean Murphy

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Sgt. Sean Murphy was a 25-year veteran who took crime-scene pictures as part of his duties. After Rolling Stone magazine put a photo of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, which was criticized as inappropriately glamorous, Murphy gave 14 photos of Tsarnaev’s capture to Boston Magazine. The unauthorized release included a shot of a disheveled Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight boring into his forehead as he surrendered in April.

Three were killed and more than 260 wounded in the April bombing. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty.

Murphy retired Friday after internal charges against him were upheld — including unauthorized dissemination of information, insubordination, unsatisfactory performance and violation of departmental rules and regulation, state police spokesman David Procopio said.

Procopio declined to describe the penalties that Murphy faced, citing privacy laws governing employee records.

Murphy could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His attorney, Leonard Kesten, said he was not forced out of the police force.

“Everything is over. ... He has his time in,” Kesten said. “He is getting a full pension, and he’s decided to move on.”

Murphy admitted publicly to leaking the photos, which were published in July, saying in a statement to Boston Magazine that Tsarnaev is evil and that his photos show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

Still, Murphy faced a short suspension and was placed on desk duty. He was eventually transferred from department headquarters in Framingham and was assigned to the midnight shift at the Athol barracks in north-central Massachusetts.

Murphy never reported to work there because of an injury unrelated to his job, Procopio said.

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