Dzhokhar Tsarnaev photos: Police photographer faces internal inquiry

A Massachusetts State Police photographer is facing an internal investigation after he released photos of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to a local magazine, authorities said Friday.

Sgt. Sean Murphy, incensed by what he saw as the glamorization of Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, made public for the first time a series of behind-the-scenes photos documenting Tsarnaev’s capture in Watertown, Mass.

The images, published Thursday by Boston Magazine, show the capture in vivid detail, from the movements of police to Tsarnaev’s bloodied condition.


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“I hope that the people who see these images will know that this was real. It was as real as it gets,” Murphy wrote in a posting on the magazine’s website. “This may have played out as a television show, but this was not a television show.”

Officials said the release of the photos was unauthorized. On Monday, Murphy will be relieved of duty for a day, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio told the Los Angeles Times.

A hearing will take place to determine whether Murphy will be formally suspended while the internal investigation is conducted. The hearing could come as soon as next week, Procopio said.

Murphy, a tactical photographer, has not responded to requests for comment. He has worked in law enforcement for 25 years, according to Boston Magazine.

On Twitter, supporters were quick to call Murphy a hero, and a Facebook page called “Save Sgt. Sean Murphy” drew close to 500 fans in four hours.

“Sgt Murphy, What you have done may have violated the internal protocol of MSP -- but well respected. Rolling Stone Magazine may have praised the terrorist; but you have shown the world the true face of the terrorist,” one Facebook user posted on the page.

A roundup of other reactions is below:

Sgt. Sean Murphy YOU are my new HERO!!!— K Mertes (@kmertes2) July 19, 2013

Sgt. Sean Murphy had no right to release photos of Boston Bomber.His pics make Tsarnaev look like more sympathetic figure,not like monster.— Linda K Lord (@thelindalord) July 19, 2013

Reinstate MA State Police Sgt #Sean #Murphy, hero for standing up to #RollingStone— Josh First (@JoshFirstSenate) July 19, 2013

The pics Sgt Murphy released do more to sensationalize Tsarnaev & his actions than #RollingStone cover ever could #tcot #p2 #UniteBlue— Darth Savage (@DarthSavage1220) July 19, 2013

Police Sgt Sean Murphy should be praised, not disciplined! #BostonStrong— Bob Durocher (@BDuroc62) July 19, 2013

I really respect this guy for putting it all on the line for what he believes in. #rollingstonecover— Janet Kosloff (@janetkos) July 19, 2013


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Twitter: @devckelly