Sean Murphy said he released the photos of what he called ‘the face of terror’ to Boston Magazine last week to counter a glamorized image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. (Agencies)
Three of Murphy's 14 photos show a battered Tsarnaev emerging from a boat in a backyard, blood on his face and the red dot of a sniper's laser sight trained on his head.
Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the April 15 bombing that killed three and injured or maimed 260. He's also accused of killing a police officer while on the run three days later. His brother died of injuries suffered during a police confrontation.
Murphy wasn't authorized to release the photos, and he's already served a one-day, unpaid suspension. He has been placed on desk duty, where he won't have contact with the public, until a further investigation is completed, according to state police spokesman David Procopio.
The US attorney's office called the release of the photos ‘completely unacceptable,’ and some attorneys said the images and Murphy's comments could be used to argue government bias against Tsarnaev.
Others said it was important to show the real Tsarnaev after the cover photo, which showed a brooding Tsarnaev in a pose that recalled the magazine's treatment of Jim Morrison. Murphy declined to comment.
He had said in a statement to Boston Magazine that the cover was an insult to police, military members and the families of anyone killed in the line of duty. "This guy is evil," Murphy said. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
Rolling Stone said its 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."
Sean Murphy said he released the photos of what he called ‘the face of terror’ to Boston Magazine last week to counter a glamorized image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.