Sean Murphy: Tsarnaev police photographer put on restricted duty

State trooper Sean Murphy (center) entering disciplinary hearing. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
State trooper Sean Murphy, center, enters his disciplinary hearing Tuesday. Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

The state police officer who released photos of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been put on restricted duty pending the outcome of a police investigation.

With his son, Connor, by his side, Sgt. Sean Murphy said he felt “great” as he entered the disciplinary hearing at 11 a.m.

Murphy appeared before a three-person panel at state police headquarters in Framingham to determine whether he would be suspended from the force for leaking the photographs to Boston Magazine.

His 19-year-old son told reporters, “I support [Murphy] 100 percent, (I) couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s a hero to me. If I could be one-quarter of the man he is, I would be happy.”

Murphy said he was inspired to release the photographs after Rolling Stone magazine announced that Tsarnaev’s portrait would appear on the cover of the magazine. He did not receive any compensation for the photos.

At 1:20 p.m., state police released the following statement regarding Murphy’s status:

Following a duty status hearing this morning at Massachusetts State Police General Headquarters, Sgt. Sean Murphy was placed on restricted duty until further notice while an internal investigation is conducted. State Police will conduct an internal investigation into Sgt. Murphy’s release of departmental photographs to a media outlet last week. The investigation, which is expected to take several weeks to complete at the minimum, will determine whether Sgt. Murphy violated State Police rules, regulations, policies or procedures. State Police took from Sgt. Murphy his use-of-force equipment, badge, and identification, and he will be assigned to administrative duties while on restricted duty. Additionally, he is being transferred from the Office of Media Relations to the Division of Field Services. The department will have no further comment while the internal investigation is ongoing.

Although Murphy has been ordered to keep tight-lipped with the media, he has explained his actions by saying that the photos show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

Before the hearing, Murphy’s lawyer told the Boston Herald that he acknowledges he broke rules, but that his motives were pure.

“He certainly understands this is not going to be consequence-free,” Leonard Kesten, the attorney for Murphy, told the Herald. “We recognize he broke some rules, but he did it from the purest of motives, and we’re willing to do something reasonable with regard to a punishment. He should not be terminated.”

Support for Murphy has been overwhelming. A Facebook group, Save Sgt. Sean Murphy, had more than 59,000 “likes” as of Tuesday morning.

“This petition is to save Trooper Sean Murphy his job,” the page says. “He did what I think most of us would have liked to do or would have done had we had the same resources. He was upset [about] the Rolling Stone magazine cover. Sgt. Murphy could lose his job due to him wearing his heart on his sleeve.”

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS
Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan


Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.


Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…


Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…


Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…