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Cop angry about Rolling Stone cover releases photos of ‘the real Boston bomber’

Updated Friday, July 19, 2013 | 9:16 a.m.

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In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013, issue of "Rolling Stone."

Boston Marathon Explosion

In this Monday, April 15, 2013 photo, Boston Firefighter James Plourde carries an injured girl away from the scene after a bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston. The FBI's investigation into the bombings at the Boston Marathon was in full swing Tuesday, with authorities serving a warrant on a suburban Boston home and appealing for any private video, audio and still images of the blasts that killed at least three and wounded more than 170. Launch slideshow »

BOSTON — A state police sergeant who released striking photos of the capture of the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings faces a hearing to determine if he will be suspended until an internal investigation is complete.

Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said the agency didn't authorize Sgt. Sean Murphy to release the photos to Boston Magazine and won't release them to other media.

Murphy told Boston Magazine he released the photos because he was furious over a Rolling Stone cover photo he believes glamorizes suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He said his photos show "the real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine." The music magazine hits the shelves this week, and some retailers have said they won't sell it.

Procopio said Friday that Murphy has been relieved of duty for one day and there will be a hearing to decide if he will be suspended until the internal investigation is complete. He did not say when the hearing will be.

Murphy has not returned calls from The Associated Press. No one answered the door Friday at the blue cottage along the coast in Biddeford, Maine, where neighbors said he spends weekends. Someone started a "Save Sgt. Sean Murphy" Facebook page that had hundreds of "likes" in just a few hours.

"The release of these photos was completely unacceptable," said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who is prosecuting the case. "We have spoken with the Massachusetts State Police, who have assured us that the release of the photos was unauthorized and that they are taking action internally in response."

Gov. Deval Patrick appeared reticent on the issue Friday as he walked quickly back to his office after an event in the Statehouse.

"Talk to the state police, they violated the rules when they did it," he said in response to a question from a reporter.

Asked if he was concerned the release of the photos would compromise the investigation of Tsarnaev, Patrick again referred questions to the state police.

An aide to the governor later said Patrick was only referring to the individual officer who released the photos, not any other members of the state police.

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  1. Dear Rolling Stone, you are not worthy of this news coverage.

  2. You know what pictures should accompany this terrorist's own? Photos of the victims. The blood stained pavement, the shrapnel wounds, the guy with his leg blown off and his bone and tendons exposed, and the mutilated corpses. Not for the simple shock factor, but to make people realize that this is who this guy is. This is what he wanted and what he accomplished. That is the real Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that everyone should see.

  3. Two wrongs dont make one right. The officer should not have released the photos, which violated the rules that we expect our police to follow to ensure integrity of the force/service.

    I empathize with him, but cannot agree with his actions. There are other lawful means for dissent/disagreement. Its just worse when an upholder of the law, breaks the rules. In my view.

    As for Rolling Stone, I dont read their magazine as they do have a history of miscontruing reality. Why they are not sold next to the gossip mags at checkout stands leads me to think that RS is not as good of quality. This (putting a terrorist on their cover) only supports my assumption.

    I hope, like General McChrystal (who they wrote lies about), that RS fades away into history. Its a worthless magazine and serves no benefit to our communities.

  4. I don't see how rolling stone's coverage of this loser is somehow less appropriate than any other media outlet's coverage. I remember seeing nothing but this guy and his brother's face all over tv and the internet for weeks after the bombing.

    Perhaps the media is ganging up on rolling stone because they are one of the few media outlets that actually still employs investigative journalists?

  5. Yeah, go to and do a search for Time Magazine Covers and see how many criminals/terrorists have been on the cover of Time.

    I'd say that the way the cover photos were presented you could make the same argument about "glamorizing" the subject with regard to their cover photos of Snowden, Manning, Pistorius, Morsi, Kim Jong Un, Gaddafi, Bin Laden, and Nidal Malik Hasan (and that's just the faces I immediately recognized from thumbnails of the last 5 years of covers)

    Not to mention, as others have already brought up, the endless list of newspapers, magazines, and TV news show that have prominently featured pictures of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on their cover, front page, or story lead-in. (A list that I think includes this newspaper as well)