ALTADENA (CBSLA.com) — A California Highway Patrol officer formerly from Southern California is accused of sharing explicit photographs obtained from the cellphone of a female taken into custody with a fellow officer.
The accused officer, Sean Harrington of Martinez, is alleged to have obtained the photos after a DUI stop.
According to an affidavit, the incident is alleged to be part of a game some officers play from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.
In court documents obtained by the Contra Costa Times, explicit text messages believed to have been sent between Harrington and another officer are depicted.
The exchange reportedly read in part:
CHP Officer: “Nudes are always better with the face.”
Harrington: “Maybe she knows she has a jacked up horse face?!?!?”
CHP Officer: “Her body is rocking, though.”
Harrington: “Small (breasts).”
CHP Officer: “Still looks good to me.”
In a separate exchange, Harrington is alleged to have written: “Taken from the phone … while she’s in X-rays. Enjoy, Buddy!!!”
The other CHP Officer replies: “No [expletive] nudes?”
Harrington replies: “Nope. Gotta work with what’s there.”
“They had no right to go into her phone,” CBS2 Legal Analyst Steve Meister said. “He wasn’t investigating a crime beyond the DUI, and the phone would yield no evidence of a DUI, and he would need a search warrant to get into the phone to begin with.”
A source within the CHP tells CBS2 that Harrington previously worked in Altadena before he moved to Northern California.
CBS2 contacted the CHP in Los Angeles to ask whether Harrington worked in the area and whether this was truly a game officers here were aware of.
The CHP had no comment and would only say that all inquiries must go through their Northern California office.
However, the CHP did release a statement that read in part:
“This alleged behavior does not reflect the professionalism of the thousands of members of the California Highway Patrol who pledge to provide the best in safety, service and security to the people of California. We expect so much more and so does the public.”
CBS2’s Brittney Hopper reports that Harrington has been placed on leave while authorities investigate.