Sgt. who released Tsarnaev images on restrictive duty - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Sgt. who released Tsarnaev images on restrictive duty

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BOSTON (WHDH) -- State Police Sergeant Sean Murphy didn’t say much as he arrived at headquarters for a hearing Tuesday. At issue was his decision to release graphic images of surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the day he was taken into custody in Watertown.

The release of the pictures came from Sgt. Murphy a state police photographer, so incensed by the upcoming cover of Rolling Stone magazine that features what many are describing as a glamorized snapshot of the suspected 19 year old terrorist.

Releasing the pictures landed Sgt. Murphy in hot water for violating department policy. He was relieved of duty for one day, which Mass. State Police stressed was an administrative procedure applied prior to a duty status hearing and unlike a suspension, not a punishment. A member relieved of duty gets his pay for the time period for which he is relieved. Following a status hearing at state police headquarters Tuesday, Murphy was placed on desk duty, where he won't have contact with the public, until an internal investigation is complete. MSP said Sgt. Murphy will continue to be paid his salary and to hold the rank of sergeant.

The 25 year veteran of the force was been placed on desk duty until the investigation was complete.

After the hearing, Sgt. Murphy declined to comment, except to say, "Life is good."

While Sgt. Murphy didn’t comment on any of the proceedings, his son did.

Murphy's 19-year-old son, Connor Murphy, said he couldn't be more proud of his father, praising him as a man of integrity and noting his father never tried to hide what he had done.

"If I could be one quarter of a man that he is now, I'll be more than happy with my life," he said.

Col. Timothy Alben, the commander of the state police, said more discipline is conceivable, but he ruled out the possibility that Murphy would be fired.

"I don't see Sgt. Murphy being terminated for this particular set of circumstances," he said.

The Colonel's concern was the integrity of the department, even though everyone there, he says, feels for the marathon bombing victims.

Massachusetts State Police released a statement Tuesday clarifying the details of Sgt. Murphy's disciplinary proceedings. The statement says that on July 18, Sgt. Murphy was informed that he wasthe subject of administrative action and would be relieved of duty for one day. The following day, Friday, July 19, Sgt. Murphy was on a previously scheduled day off and he did not work weekends as his regular schedule as member of the Office of Media Relations, was Monday-Friday. On July 22, Sgt. Murphy served his one-day of relief from duty. Mass. State Police stressed that 'relief of duty' is an administrative procedure applied prior to a duty status hearing and unlike a suspension, is not a punishment.

On July 23, a duty status hearing for Sgt. Murphy was held at General Headquarters after which he was placed on restricted duty and transferred to the Division of Field Services.

As part of the transfer, the department took from Sgt. Murphy the State Police-issued computer, camera, and related equipment that had been assigned to him in his former position of photographer for the department. As stated earlier, during his restricted duty he'll continue to be paid his salary and to hold the rank of sergeant.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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