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Photos leaked of Boston bombing suspect

Photographer reportedly suspended after protest at Rolling Stone's decision to feature Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on front cover.

Last Modified: 19 Jul 2013 09:28
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was photographed as a laser sight was trained on his head [Sean Murphy]

A police photographer has been suspended, reports said, after releasing gritty pictures of the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in response to a magazine cover that he said "glamourised" the Boston bombing suspect.

The photos were released to Boston Magazine on Thursday by Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer, Sean Murphy, who was angry at Rolling Stone magazine for putting the 19-year-old on the front cover of this month's magazine.

Murphy said in a statement that Tsarnaev was "evil" and his photographs showed what he claimed to be the "real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."

The Boston Magazine later said Murphy had been "relieved of duty" and a source told the Associated Press that the photographs were unauthorised and the officer was subject to an investigation.

The Rolling Stone magazine is published later this week, and some retailers are refusing to stock it.

The newly released photos were taken when Tsarnaev was captured on April 19, bleeding and hiding in a boat in a backyard.

Boston Magazine printed more than a dozen photos - one shows Tsarnaev with blood streaks across his face, while another captures the moment a police sniper trained his laser sight on his forehead.

Officer investigated

State police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement that the agency did not authorise the release of the photos to Boston Magazine and would not release them to other media.

Asked by AP about Murphy's job status, Procopio said in an email, "All I can say is that he is subject to an internal investigation."

The April 15 bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260. A police officer was allegedly killed on April 18 by Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, who died during a shootout with police later that evening.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who came to the US as a child, pleaded not guilty last week while appearing nonchalant, though his face was swollen and his arm was in a cast. He is charged with a number of offences including using a weapon of mass destruction.

Rolling Stone has said the 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."

'As real as it gets'

Murphy said in his statement that the Rolling Stone's cover photo, a softly-lit image of a brooding Tsarnaev, insulted officers killed in the line of duty, their colleagues and their families by glamourising terrorism.

"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," he said.

He said that the arrest of Tsarnaev was "as real as it gets".

He added that the victims of the bombing "were real people, with real lives, with real families".

"To have this cover dropped into Boston was hurtful to their memories and their families.

"There is nothing glamorous in bringing more pain to a grieving family."

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