World & Nation

Massachusetts trooper, suspended for Tsarnaev photos, put on patrol

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
One of the pictures released by Sgt. Sean Murphy shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight on his forehead.
(Sgt. Sean Murphy / Massachusetts State Police)

The Massachusetts state trooper who was suspended after he angrily released photos of the Boston bombing manhunt has been put on patrol, state police said Thursday.

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy is still under internal investigation for releasing police photographs of the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after Rolling Stone magazine published a front-page photo that some people said glamorized the suspected bomber.

Murphy was transferred to the state trooper barracks in Athol, Mass., last week, after briefly taking a desk assignment while awaiting a transfer, officials said.

A state police spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the transfer was not intended to be punitive.


“He is on the midnight shift [11 p.m. to 7 a.m.], but that is only because of the slot that was open," Dave Procopio, spokesman for the state police, said in a statement. “He will have the opportunity to bid for a different shift when the new bid cycle comes in a couple of weeks, and given his seniority, he could probably change his shift if he wishes.”

Murphy previously served as a tactical photographer for the state police before leaking the manhunt photographs to Boston Magazine.

“As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, 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,” Murphy said in comments made to the magazine at the time the photographs were published.

The dramatic photographs became a sensation and Murphy was immediately silenced by state police officials, who moved him out of his media-related job while an internal investigation determined whether he broke organization policy.


Col. Timothy Alben, the state police commander, has previously said Murphy is unlikely to be fired, according to the Associated Press.


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