Police photographer releases Tsarnaev capture photos following controversial Rolling Stone cover

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com  |  July 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM
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Boston Magazine has published new photos of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev emerging from the Watertown, Mass., boat where he ended his attempted escape from police back in April.

Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer for the Massachusetts State Police, said he decided to leak the photos in fear that Rolling Stone's latest cover (seen above) "glamorized" the 19-year-old.

“I hope that the people who see these images will know that this was real,” Murphy told the magazine. “It was as real as it gets. This may have played out as a television show, but this was not a television show.”

As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every 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.

"I think [Murphy] was worried that certain impressionable people might be lured to replicate that by the kind of glamorous-looking photo that is on the Rolling Stone cover," Boston Magazine editor John Wolfson told CNN.

Boston Magazine's website has been off and on due to increased traffic, but you can also see the photos over at the New York Daily News.

The controversial Rolling Stone cover -- which featured an image of Tsarnaev looking fresh-faced, wild-haired and a lot like this iconic photo of Jim Morrison -- was vilified by social media users on Wednesday.

David Procopio, a rep for the Massachusetts State Police, said in a statement Thursday night that officials had not authorized the release of the photos.

Today's dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police. The department will not release the photographs to media outlets. The State Police will have no further comment on this matter tonight.

Wolfson tweeted later that Murphy had been temporarily "relived of duty" until a hearing next week.

He added that Murphy had "been ordered not to talk to media or anyone else about events at Watertown."

A rep for U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose team is prosecuting Tsarnaev, called Murphy's actions "completely unacceptable."

Legal experts criticized the leak.

"Does he think he’s our appointed champion against the fourth estate?” John Cunha, former president of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, told the Boston Globe.

“Give me a break," he said.

Meanwhile, Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. He is awaiting trial.

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