(BOSTON) — A Massachusetts State Police officer who released photos of Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture in Watertown on April 19 has been relieved of duty and will be called up before a hearing next week.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that a Massachusetts State Police spokesman said Sgt. Sean Murphy was not authorized to release the photos, including one of Tsarnaev emerging from a boat with a police laser trained on his forehead while raising a bloodied right hand.
Tsarnaev had been hiding out in the boat for hours after police said he fled a shootout that left his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dead.
A tactical photographer, Murphy’s rationale for going public with the photos was his anger over the newest edition of the Rolling Stone magazine that features Tsarnaev on the cover, which critics say makes the 19-year-old looking like a glamorous rock star.
John Wolfson, the editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine where the photos first appeared, wrote, “Murphy wants the world to know that the Tsarnaev in the photos he took that night — defeated and barely alive, with the red dots of sniper rifles lighting up his forehead — is the real face of terrorism, not the handsome, confident young man shown on the magazine cover.”
Besides the outcry over the Rolling Stone cover, numerous retail chains say they will not put the magazine on their stands when the issue becomes available Friday.
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty last week to 30 counts associated with the bombing. Tsarnaev is accused of working with his brother to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring more than 260 people.
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Elise Labott, Kevin Liptak and Patrick Oppmann, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN