The Massachusetts State police officer who released those stunning photos of the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was finally apprehended to Boston magazine has been put on restricted duty until the police's internal investigation is complete. But, lucky for him, he'll probably get to keep his job.
The Boston Globe reports Sergeant Sean Murphy was put on desk duty for the foreseeable future by a three-person disciplinary panel Tuesday morning. The matter will now be investigated by the internal affairs bureau to determine what rules were broken and what will be Murphy's proper punishment. The disciplinary committee also ruled Murphy is to not speak about his case in public. Murphy was suspended last week immediately after the pictures were released, and in the intervening few days saw a tidal wave of support online.
The police photographer released the photos late last week in the wake of the Rolling Stone cover controversy. Some argued the cover portrayed the alleged bomber as if he was a rock star or celebrity, and Murphy took offense. "As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years," Murphy told Boston Magazine. I believe that the image that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty."
State Police Colonel Timothy Alben told reporters he held Murphy in "high regard," but his decision to release the photos could compromise the state's case against the accused Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev. "We cannot afford to let pretrial publicity in any way impede this prosecution or any others that we’re involved in," Alben told reporters. Alben also guessed that Murphy's decision to leak the photos to the public would not result in his termination.
Murphy must hope Alben is right.
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