A police officer who was there the night Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured has decided to counter the "normalcy" of Rolling Stone's controversial cover by releasing photos showing the bomber how many would apparently prefer to see him: bloody, covered in dirt, with the red circle of a laser target trained on his forehead. "This guy is evil," Sean Murphy, a tactical officer for the Massachusetts State Police told Boston magazine. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
Here's what Murphy told the magazine about his motivations for releasing the photos:
As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty. The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, 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.
I hope that the people who see these images will know that this was real. It was as real as it gets. This may have played out as a television show, but this was not a television show. Officer Dick Donohue almost gave his life. Officer Sean Collier did give his life. 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. I know from first-hand conversations that thisRolling 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.
The photographer, the magazine notes, is also responsible for photographing the funerals of police officers.
Murphy, like many, want to see people unequivocally designated as an enemy of the U.S. depicted as defeated, disheveled, taken down to size. That, presumably, is why Tsarnaev's image on Rolling Stone, which was a photograph widely used in the media before becoming the cover image, was so striking: it looks like any other cover of any other culture magazine, insinuating that Tsarnaev could be anyone. The new images will give those who wanted it their Khalid Sheikh Mohammed moment with Tsarnaev — the images are reminiscent of the 2003 photo of the 9/11 mastermind shortly after his capture. And while Murphy's photographs certainly put some distance between Tsarnaev and the audience, both physically and emotionally, they will, like nearly any photograph, depend on the interpretation of the viewer to complete their message. Rolling Stone's image's normalcy is uncomfortable, but its eeriness speaks volumes. The new images depict a man, at a distance, defeated. But in them, he is also seen at his most vulnerable.
Boston magazine says they'll publish more photos of Tsarnaev's April capture in their September print edition. For now, you can see their first selection of Murphy's photos on their site.
Update 8:50 p.m.: According to Boston magazine's editor, Sgt. Sean Murphy was relieved of duty following the publication of the arrest photos:
Sgt. Sean Murphy has been relieved of duty. Post coming shortly.— John Wolfson (@johnwolfson) July 19, 2013
Since site is slow: Murphy has been relieved but not yet fired. Duty hearing next week.— John Wolfson (@johnwolfson) July 19, 2013
Has been ordered not to talk to media or anyone else about events at Watertown.— John Wolfson (@johnwolfson) July 19, 2013