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Supporters rally to save Sgt. Murphy's job after release of Tsarnaev pics

Sean Murphy posing with survivor Jeff Bauman (
Sean Murphy posing with survivor Jeff Bauman

Facebook users are uniting in support of a Massachusetts state policeman now at risk of losing his job over the release of graphic Boston bombing suspect photos.

The new community page, Save Sgt. Sean Murphy, has been racking up the Facebook likes since its creation Friday on behalf of the Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer. As of Monday evening, the page had more than 52,000 supporters.

“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 Facebook page reads. “He was upset of the Rolling Stones Magazine cover. Sgt Murphy could lose his job due to him wearing his heart on his sleeve.”

The FB page also shows a picture of Murphy posing with Jeff Bauman, a survivor who lost both legs in the Boston attack.

In the wake of the controversial Rolling Stone cover, Boston Magazine posted a series of photos Thursday that Murphy took during the manhunt for suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev. Unlike the soft-focus selfie used on Rolling Stone cover, Murphy’s images show Tsarnaev with blood on his hands and a red laser beam from the sniper’s rifle hovering in the center of his forehead.

Following the release of the photos, Murphy was temporarily “relieved of duty,” according to Boston Magazine’s editor John Wolfson. A hearing is scheduled for this week to decide the fate of his job.

Murphy said his goal for releasing the photos was to remind Americans “these were real people, with real lives, with real families." He accused Rolling Stone of “glamorizing the face of terror.” He said, “This may have played out as a television show, but this was not a television show. Officer Dick Donohue almost gave his life. Officer Sean Collier did give his life.”

The family of slain MIT officer Collier issued their support Monday.

“We believe that Sgt. Murphy’s motives were selfless when he released the photos, taken the night after our son and brother was murdered and the terrorist was apprehended. In our opinion, he has been sufficiently punished," the statement reads. "Sgt. Murphy wanted to right what he and many in Boston and around the country saw as a wrong, and to counter the aggrandizement of terrorism by Rolling Stone magazine. Terrorists are not rock stars and they should not be rewarded with fame and magazine covers. The real heroes are the law enforcement officers, first responders, and victims of this terror. It is they who should be honored.”

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The Boston Marathon bombing killed three and wounded more than 260.