Retired state police Sgt. Sean Murphy, best known for releasing revealing photos of Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev, met the woman who gathered public support for him as he waited to hear about the future of his career.
During three months of hearings, investigations and uncertainty, Murphy had a complete stranger watching his back.
Tuesday he finally met the woman he credits with helping save his career.
"I'm so grateful for what she did. Her Facebook page and the supporters she got behind my cause really, really made a difference," Murphy said Tuesday at the office of his attorney.
Lisa Beloff had been watching as Murphy faced discipline hearings for releasing photos of Tsarnaev from the night he was captured.
She started a Facebook page that churned up support from all corners of the country.
The location where Murphy and Beloff met is especially significant. It's the site of the Boston Marathon finish line. Just outside his attorney's office is where the first bomb went off back in April.
"This is it right outside these windows is the Boston Marathon finish line," Murphy said.
Murphy remembers the pain of the victims, the pain of an entire city and the manhunt that followed that brought hundreds of law enforcement officers to a street in Watertown.
"It was a very dangerous and active situation, anything was possible. We had witnessed what he and his brother had done prior to this and photographing it was second to maintaining tactical awareness and just being safe," he said.
He didn't know that night that soon he'd be revealing what he and few others had seen to millions.
But in July, days before Rolling Stone magazine released a cover of what many have criticized as a glamour shot of the suspected bomber, he did what he felt he had to.
"I know that that Rolling Stone cover really, really hurt a lot of people. I knew that the image I had showed the real face of terror."
He was placed on restricted duty, his gun, cameras and badge were taken and he was investigated.
He stared down the possibility of losing his job of 25 years.
Meanwhile, Beloff, a stranger he'd never met, didn't hesitate to act.
"I felt that Sgt. Murphy was out there by himself, you know, and nobody was helping him," she said.
Today the page she started has more than 65,000 followers.
"People and other detectives and officers all around the country were supportive of what he did and some even said they would do it themselves," Beloff said.
Murphy hung up his camera and retired earlier this month after being transferred to the Athol State Police barracks.
So how do you thank the woman who helped to keep your job? Murphy says it's holding onto the belief that after all this, there's good.
"To finally meet her today, it's an honor. I know what she did made a difference ... it just reaffirms my belief that there are an awful lot of good people in this world."
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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