A Massachusetts police officer who released photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev moments before he was captured, in response to the accused bomber being featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, has been relieved of duty and is now under investigation.
Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police, was angered by the magazine's decision to put Tsarnaev on the cover, a move that many have said glamorizes terrorism. Murphy said in a statement to Boston Magazine that the image was "an insult to any person who has ever worn a uniform ... and the family members who have ever lost a loved on serving in the line of duty."
So Murphy decided to release photos from the night in April when police captured Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass., as a way to show people who "the real Boston bomber" was.
"The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, 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," Murphy said in the statement.
Fourteen of the hundreds of photos that Murphy, 25, gave Boston Magazine were published online on Thursday. Some show authorities in meetings, officers with pictures of Tsarnaev or state troopers planning their final moves toward the boat where the alleged bomber hid. Several others show a blood-covered, injured Tsarnaev crawling out of the boat with his arms above his head and a laser target fixed directly on the middle of his forehead.
"What Rolling Stone did was wrong," Murphy said. "This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
But just over three hours after the photos were published, authorities showed up at Murphy's home, Boston Magazine reported. At about 7:40 p.m. on Thursday, Murphy handed over his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest and other police-issued items to two officers.
A state police spokesman, Dave Procopio, told The Associated Press that the agency did not approve the release of the photos. Murphy has been relieved of duty for one day and is under investigation, Procopio said.
Murphy said in the statement that many people he has spoken to said the Rolling Stone cover caused painful memories to resurface.
"These were real people, with real lives, with real families," Murphy said. "And to have this cover dropped into Boston was hurtful to their memories and their families."
But the magazine defended its decision to put Tsarnaev on the cover, saying that it follows its "long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage" of important issues.
"The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens," the magazine's editors wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Murphy's duty status will be determined at a hearing next week, Procopio told CBS.