The Massachusetts State Police sergeant who may have earned the displeasure of his superiors when he leaked photos of the arrest of Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has won the hearts and support of thousands of other people.
As of Sunday afternoon more than 30,000 people had "liked" a Facebook page dedicated to supporting Sgt. Sean Murphy. The page, titled "Save Sgt. Sean Murphy," was created Friday.
Murphy, a state police tactical photographer, turned over on Thursday new photos of the April 19 arrest to Boston magazine, which published some of them online.
Shortly after the release of the photos, state police responded with a brief statement.
"Thursday's dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police," the statement said.
On Thursday, Murphy was relieved of duty and this week will face a hearing to determine his employment status, according to Boston magazine.
The description on the Facebook page backed Murphy for doing what "most of us would have liked to do."
"Please help me save Sgt. Sean Murphy from losing his job with the Massachusetts State Police. This petition is to save Trooper Sean Murphy his job. He did what I think most of us would have liked to do or would have done had we had the same resources," the page said.
Murphy told Boston magazine he released the photos because of the way Rolling Stone glamorized Tsarnaev.
"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 every 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," he said.
According to the magazine, Murphy turned over the photos because he was angered at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, which featured a healthy and young looking Tsarnaev that accompanied a long story tracing his path to becoming one of the alleged bombers.
Some of the photos show Tsarneav bloodied and with the red beads of snipers on his head, other photos show state police tactical officers preparing themselves to move in on the Watertown boat where Tsarnaev was eventually found.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.