Sergeant Sean Murphy, a state police photographer, has angered his bosses and federal prosecutors after leaking behind-the-scenes photos showing the manhunt and capture of alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
But Murphy claims he made the move over his anger about Rolling Stone magazines widely condemned cover-boy treatment of the accused teen terrorist.
According to the Boston Herald, Murphy was relieved of duty for one day and is now ‘subject to internal investigation’ state police announced on Thursday night.
‘The release of these photos was completely unacceptable,’ said a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, whose prosecutors are preparing a case against Tsarnaev on 30 federal charges, 17 of them capital offenses.
‘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.’
Lawyers for Tsarnaev have not responded to calls for comment. It’s unclear whether the photos could damage the federal case against him. But state police are reportedly furious that a fellow trooper would do anything that could unintentionally aid the man accused of setting off pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Murphy has not responded to calls for comment. He does have prominent defenders however.
Andrew Collier, whose brother, MIT campus cop Sean Collier, was ambushed and shot to death as Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan fled in panic came to Murphy’s defense on Thursday calling him ‘an amazing photographer.’
‘He took a lot of pictures for us during Sean’s funeral. He helped us a lot,’ Collier said. ‘I appreciate him keeping Sean in his thoughts and continuing to honor him.’
In a statement Murphy claimed he also published the pictures in tribute to law enforcement, including Collier and transit cop Richard Donohue, who was hurt in the Watertown firefight.
‘These were real people, with real lives, with real families. And to have this cover dropped into Boston was hurtful to their memories and their families,’ Murphy’s statement said.
‘I know from firsthand conversations that this Rolling Stone cover has kept many of them up - again. It’s irritated the wounds that will never heal - again. There is nothing glamorous in bringing more pain to a grieving family.’