Photographer who shot Dzhokhar Tsarnaev capture is placed on restricted duty by State Police

FRAMINGHAM — A State Police sergeant has been placed on restricted duty while an internal investigation is conducted of his unauthorized release of dramatic photos of the capture of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in April in Watertown.

Sergeant Sean P. Murphy essentially will be on desk duty while the agency’s internal affairs unit probes his actions, officials said.

State Police Colonel Timothy Alben said after a hearing on Murphy’s status at State Police headquarters this morning that he held Murphy in “high regard” and considered him a “man of character” and a “man of honor.”

However, Alben said, said the integrity of the Marathon bombing probe and every criminal investigation needed to be maintained.

Murphy, a tactical photographer who is a 25-year veteran of the force, has said he released the photos — which, among other things, show a wounded and disheveled Tsarnaev surrendering with a laser bead from a police gun on his forehead — as a response to Rolling Stone magazine’s controversial decision to put an attractive self-portrait of Tsarnaev on its cover.

Federal prosecutors handling the Marathon bombing case said last week that the leak of the State Police photos was “completely unacceptable.” But an array of backers have given Murphy enthusiastic support.