- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A suspended sheriff’s officer admitted Tuesday that he unlawfully provided a newspaper with three arrest photos of a 14-year-old boy who was shot seven times by police who accused him of pointing a gun at them.

Christopher McKenna, of Hamilton, pleaded guilty to wrongful access and disclosure of information. He initially had also been charged with official misconduct, but that count was dropped.

Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy said McKenna improperly accessed a restricted law enforcement database to get photos of Radazz Hearns, who was charged in juvenile court. State law bars the public disclosure of juvenile court records.

Lougy said a website used to access the database included a statement saying the information provided could only be used for law enforcement purposes and unauthorized use could result in criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors will recommend that McKenna get probation and a county jail term of up to 364 days when he’s sentenced July 29. He also must forfeit his job as a Mercer County sheriff’s officer and will be permanently barred from holding public employment in New Jersey.

McKenna, 37, provided the photos to the newspaper last August. The newspaper subsequently published them along with an article that named Hearns and included details about his arrest. Hearns has since been publicly identified by his mother. He was hospitalized for about a week after the shooting.

The attorney general’s office has refused to release information about the officers involved in the teen’s shooting, which occurred during a foot chase. Hearns initially was charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses, and he eventually pleaded guilty to a weapons possession count.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had joined with the teen’s family and protesters to demand an investigation after the photos were published.

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