Excerpted from Boston.com
A State Police sergeant, incensed by the controversial Rolling Stone magazine cover of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has released dramatic photographs of the apprehension of the accused terrorist to a local magazine without permission from his agency.
The pictures, taken by Sergeant Sean Murphy, a State Police tactical photographer who was working during the massive manhunt on April 19 in Watertown, first appeared on the website of Boston Magazine Thursday afternoon. Boston.com and other media outlets posted them afterward.
Murphy told the magazine that the photos, showing Tsarnaev bloodied and with a police sniper’s laser-projected bead on his head, display “the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
The Rolling Stone cover, which critics say glamorized Tsarnaev, “was an insult to any person who has ever 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,” Murphy said.
A State Police spokesman said Thursday night that Murphy had been relieved of duty for one day and will be subject to an internal investigation. “His duty status will be determined at a hearing in the near future,” said spokesman David Procopio.
Procopio confirmed that Murphy took the photos in his official capacity, but he distributed them without permission.
“Today’s dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police,” Procopio said in a statement. “The department will not release the photographs to media outlets.”
A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose staff is prosecuting Tsarnaev, said State Police have indicated they will be “taking action” in response to the leak.
“The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,” spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said in a statement.
Neither Procopio nor DiIorio-Sterling would say whether the photos have been entered as evidence in the pending case against Tsarnaev in federal court in Boston. He faces a slew of charges that could bring the death penalty for his alleged role in the bombings, which killed three, including a child from Dorchester, and wounded more than 260.
Murphy could not be reached for comment on Thursday, and Tsarnaev’s lawyers did not respond to inquiries.
The release of the photos drew criticism from legal experts.
Rosanna Cavallaro, a professor at Suffolk University Law School, said the leak will exacerbate what is already a major problem: how to empanel a jury that has not seen or formed judgments about the case based on media coverage and photos.
But, she said, these particular photos will not transform the case, since there are already concerns about whether Tsarnaev can get a fair trial anywhere, let alone in Boston. Keep reading