BOSTON – A police photographer, furious with a Rolling Stone cover photo he believes glamorizes the surviving Boston Marathon suspect, released gritty images Thursday from the day he was captured.
Photos released to Boston Magazine by Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer Sgt. Sean Murphy show a downcast, disheveled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight boring into his forehead.
The pictures were taken when Tsarnaev was captured April 19, bleeding and hiding in a dry-docked boat in a Watertown backyard.
Murphy said in a statement to Boston Magazine that Tsarnaev is evil and that his photos show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
The April 15 bombing killed three people and injured more than 260. Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier was allegedly killed April 18 by Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, who died following a shootout with police later that evening.
State police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement Thursday that the agency did not authorize the release of the photos to Boston Magazine and will not release them to other media.
Boston Magazine editor John Wolfson, who wrote the story accompanied by Murphy’s photos, later tweeted and reported on the magazine website that Murphy was “relieved of duty” and had a hearing next week. Asked by The Associated Press about Murphy’s job status, Procopio said in an email that the state police will conduct an internal investigation into Murphy’s release of the photos.
Murphy, who did not return a message from the AP, said in his statement to Boston Magazine that Rolling Stone’s cover photo, a softly-lit image of a brooding Tsarnaev, insults officers killed in the line of duty, their colleagues and their families by glamorizing the “face of terror.”
“It also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine,” he said.
Rolling Stone said the cover story on Tsarnaev was part of its “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.”
Boston Magazine printed more than a dozen photos from the day Tsarnaev was captured, including images of police during the manhunt and Tsarnaev as he was captured and taken away by ambulance.
Three images showed Tsarnaev as he emerged from the boat, head bowed, with red smudges and streaks on his clothing and the boat.
Two images showed the red dot of the laser sight in the middle of his forehead and just above his left eye. The other showed the dot on the top of his head as he buries his face in his arms.
In his statement, Murphy said the capture played out like a television show, but he hopes his photos show it was “as real as it gets.”
“Officer Sean Collier did give his life. These were real people, with real lives, with real families,” he said. “And to have this cover dropped into Boston was hurtful to their memories and their families.
“I know from first-hand conversations that this Rolling Stone cover has kept many of them up — again. It’s irritated the wounds that will never heal — again,” he wrote. “There is nothing glamorous in bringing more pain to a grieving family.”