Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev is again at the forefront of national attention after Rolling Stone put him on the cover of its August 2013 edition and an outraged Massachusetts State Police photographer responded by releasing pictures from the manhunt.
Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Mass. State Police, was “furious” with Rolling Stone, and sent hundred of photos from the manhunt to Boston Magazine, according to a Boston Magazine story published today.
The magazine ran 13 of them.
Murphy's photos get up close and personal with a bloodied Tsarnaev during the final stages of the April 19 manhunt that brought police to Watertown, where the suspect was found hiding underneath a boat in a Franklin Street backyard.
The images show a bloodied Tsarnaev surrendering from his hideout, hands in the air with a sniper trained on his forehead.
The other newly released photos depict police operations, including a roll call during which officers received full-page printouts of Tsarnaev’s image, a strategy meeting held at a mobile command post, legislators and state officials speaking with police during the investigation, and several snapshots of the manhunt once officers arrived in Watertown.
Massachusetts State Police said they did not endorse or permit the release of these photos and issued the following statement Thursday evening:
“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.”
NBC Connecticut reached out to Massachusetts State Police and Sgt. Murphy. They did not return a request for comment.
The Rolling Stone cover in question features a full-sized headshot of Tsarnaev and is captioned, “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.
The full cover story, entitled “Jahar’s World,” delves into the bombing suspect’s past, including his friendships, family life, education and evolving relationship with radical Islam.
To say the cover has been espoused in controversy would be an understatement.
“We’ve essentially equated the bomber with being a rock star,” said Hartford Track Club member Kelly Gallagher, who was at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. “That’s the absolute last message that needs to be sent.”
Rolling Stone responded to widespread criticism by issuing the following statement:
“The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.”
Several New England retailers, including CVS, Cumberland Farms and Stop and Shop, have already decided not to sell the August edition.