On Thursday, Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy gave Boston magazine hundreds of photographs that he took during the high-stakes manhunt that ultimately ended in the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The most powerful pic in the bunch is the one you see above, a snapshot of the alleged Boston bomber emerging from the backyard boat that he had been hiding in with the red dot of a sniper’s sight centered on his forehead.
Murphy, a tactical photographer with the police department, says he went public with his never-before-seen photos in an effort to counter the message he believed was conveyed by Rolling Stone’s new August cover that has been widely criticized for glamorizing the alleged Boston bombing suspect. “What Rolling Stone did was wrong,” Murphy told Boston. “This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
Murphy made it clear that he was speaking only for himself, and not for his department. But it turns out that wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. Boston magazine reports that within hours of the photos being published Murphy was informed that he had been relieved of duty:
Though he’s been relieved of duty, Murphy has not been fired. The status of his duty is to be reviewed next week. Two lieutenants in an unmarked cruiser and a sergeant in a marked cruiser arrived at Murphy’s home about 7:40 tonight and, during about 20 minutes at his home, took the following: his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest, cameras, police ID, license to fire arms, pepper spray, cellphone and computer. Murphy was also ordered not to speak to the press or discuss the capture of Tsarnaev with anyone else.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s photos continue to make the rounds online, where some people are firing up Photoshop to imagine alternative Rolling Stone covers: