Facebook users rally around officer who released Tsarnaev photos

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo! News
Tsarnaev surrenders.
Tsarnaev surrenders. (Photo by Sgt. Sean Murphy courtesy Boston magazine)

Facebook users are rallying around Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy, the veteran officer who was relieved of his duty last week after he released photographs documenting the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Boston magazine.

A Facebook group to save Murphy's job, launched on Friday, has gathered more than 40,000 likes.

"Please help me save Sgt. Sean Murphy from losing his job with the Massachusetts State Police," the group's creator wrote. "He did what I think most of us would have liked to do or would have done had we had the same resources."

Murphy, a tactical photographer for the state police, was not authorized to release the photos. But he felt compelled to leak them in response to Rolling Stone's controversial decision to put Tsarnaev on its cover.

“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 ever 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 wrote in an email to Boston magazine. "The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."

David Procopio, a spokesman for the state police, told Yahoo News that Murphy was "relieved of duty for one day and will be subject to an internal investigation.” A hearing to determine his future status with the department is expected to be scheduled soon.

In the meantime, Murphy's decision to show “the real Boston bomber" is being applauded by supporters.

"Sean Murphy should be commended," one Facebook user wrote.

"Murphy Strong!" wrote another.

"I hope that the people who see these images will know that this was real," Murphy told Boston magazine last week. "It was as real as it gets. This may have played out as a television show, but this was not a television show."