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Furious State Police Photographer Releases Gritty Tsarnaev Photos

Image: Furious State Police Photographer Releases Gritty Tsarnaev Photos

By Paul Scicchitano   |   Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 08:20 PM

A police photographer who released gritty images of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Thursday, including two that showed a sniper’s laser site boring on him, has been relieved of duty but not fired.

Photos released to Boston Magazine by Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer Sgt. Sean Murphy show a downcast, disheveled Tsarnaev from the day he was captured. The photos were meant to counter a Rolling Stone cover photo he believes glamorizes the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

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The pictures were taken on April 19 when the former college student was 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.”

Boston magazine editor John Wolfson tweeted on Thursday that Murphy will face a duty hearing next week.

Wolfson told CNN that the magazine has hundreds of similar photos and plans to publish more in its September issue. He also said Murphy, though “conflicted” about releasing the photos, feared "certain impressionable people” might be lured to replicate Tsarnaev’s action by “glamorous-looking photo” on the Rolling Stone cover.

The April 15 bombing killed three people and injured more than 260. Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier died three days later allegedly at the hand of Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, who died following a shootout with police that same 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. “The State Police will have no further comment on this matter tonight,” he added.

Murphy, who did not return a message from The Associated Press, 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 insensitive 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.”

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“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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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A police photographer, furious with a Rolling Stone cover photo he says glamorizes the surviving Boston Marathon suspect, has released gritty images from the day he was captured.The photos released to Boston Magazine on Thursday by Massachusetts State Police tactical...

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