Family of Slain MIT Officer Releases Statement of Support for State Police Photographer Sgt. Sean Murphy

Sean Collier's family believes Murphy's "motives were selfless," according to the statement.

sean collier

The family of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer allegedly killed by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, has released a statement in support of Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy, the tactical photographer who last week gave Boston magazine photographs he captured from behind the scenes of the manhunt for the alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Murphy gave us his photographs, previously unseen by the public, because he was infuriated by the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which features a photo that Tsarnaev took of himself. Murphy believes the cover presents a glamorized treatment of terrorism. He said the photos he took—which show Tsarnaev badly wounded, with the laser dots of sniper rifles on his head—present the true face of terrorism.

The state police have said that the release of the photos was unauthorized, and Murphy was relieved of duty  a few hours after turning his images over to us. He is scheduled for a hearing this week to determine his fate with the state police.

Joe Rogers, who’d helped raise Collier, his stepson, since he was a boy, said the family reached out to Murphy this weekend. “He wasn’t looking for any statement,” Rogers told me this morning. “He was just really happy to hear that we supported him.”
Here is the family’s statement:


We, the family of slain MIT Police Officer, Sean Collier, were fortunate to get to know Sgt. Sean Murphy in the days following Sean’s death. Sgt. Murphy was a member of the dedicated contingent of Massachusetts State Police Officers who are responsible for helping families plan and organize the funerals of police officers killed in the line of duty. With the help of Sgt. Murphy, his fellow State Police, and the officers of the MIT Police Department, our family was able to get through those dark days.

We believe that Sgt. Murphy’s motives were selfless when he released the photos, taken the night after our son and brother was murdered and the terrorist was apprehended. In our opinion, he has been sufficiently punished. Sgt. Murphy wanted to right what he and many in Boston and around the country saw as a wrong, and to counter the aggrandizement of terrorism by Rolling Stone magazine. Terrorists are not rock stars and they should not be rewarded with fame and magazine covers. The real heroes are the law enforcement officers, first responders, and victims of this terror. It is they who should be honored.

Images are very powerful and they have the ability to shape our thoughts and actions. The images from the night that we lost Sean are now burned in our memories. No amount of fluffing and buffing will make them softer. We are sure that all the other Marathon victims have similar images. It’s too bad Rolling Stone only wanted to portray the face of evil.

The ongoing support of the family of police officers who we have come to know these past three terrible months, including Sgt Murphy, is something we will never be able to repay.