Police photos of Boston bombing suspect leaked

Friday 19 July 2013 19.23
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a sniper laser on his forehead (Picture courtesy of Boston Magazine)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with a sniper laser on his forehead (Picture courtesy of Boston Magazine)

A US policeman has said he released photographs of accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to counter a "fluffed and buffed" image of him on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Massachusetts State Police Sgt Sean Murphy took the photographs during the manhunt for Mr Tsarnaev, the younger of two brothers accused of the 15 April bombings.

Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded during the Boston Marathon attack earlier this year.

The elder Tsarnaev brother was killed in the hunt.

Sgt Murphy, a police tactical photographer, said he decided to release the images in response to the portrait of Mr Tsarnaev on an upcoming cover of Rolling Stone.

He said the picture of the alleged bomber with shaggy hair and a light beard glamorised "the face of terror".

"What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine," he said in a statement carried by Boston Magazine.

The magazine has published more than a dozen of his pictures on its website.

It said Sgt Murphy had been "relieved of his duty" hours after releasing the photographs and that his status would be reviewed next week.

Massachusetts State Police declined to comment on whether Sgt Murphy had been suspended.

In a statement, spokesman David Procopio said only that the release of the photographs of Mr Tsarnaev's capture was unauthorised.

Criticism of Rolling Stone cover

A day earlier, Boston officials reacted angrily to the portrait of Mr Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone's August issue, over the headline: "The bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino called the cover "a total disgrace", and the drugstore chain CVS Caremark Corp refused to sell the magazine.

Mr Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty in court last week to all charges in a 30-count indictment.

He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.