Rolling Stone's latest controversial cover, featuring a dreamy-looking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sparked an immediate uproar—Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, among others, declared that it “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment," and several national chains including CVS and Walgreens have announced they will not carry the issue in their stores. But the latest condemnation is perhaps the most sensational: A Massachusetts State Police sergeant has defied his superiors by releasing never-before-seen photos of Tsarnaev's capture, in what he says is a counterpoint to Rolling Stone's "glamorous" depiction of the suspect.
In an open letter published in Boston Magazine, Sgt. Sean Murphy writes, "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."
You can read Sgt. Murphy's full statement here. The Massachusetts State Police say the agency had not authorized the photos release, and CNN reports that Murphy has been relieved of duty pending an internal investigation. "Today's dissemination to Boston Magazine of photographs of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev and police activity related to his capture was not authorized by the Massachusetts State Police," spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.
In an editors' note preceding Janet Reitman's story, Rolling Stone writes:
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.
The article in question, entitled "How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster," is available online for you to read and/or print out for a ceremonial bonfire at your leisure.