Two Massachusetts men filed a lawsuit against The New York Post on Wednesday, saying they were falsely portrayed as the suspects behind the deadly Marathon bombing.
Three days after the attack, the newspaper plastered pictures of 16-year-old Salaheddin Barhoum and 24-year-old Yassine Zaimi on its cover with the headline, “Bag Men.” The front page sub-headline read, “Feds seek this duo pictured at Boston Marathon.” These two friends, who are avid runners and were watching the marathon as spectators, are suing The Post for libel, negligent infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. They are also seeking monetary compensation.
After the newspaper ran the cover and related articles with their photo, the men went to police where they were questioned and informed they were not suspects. Later that same day, authorities released photographs of actual suspected bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Their lawsuit claims, “The front page would lead a reasonable reader to believe that plaintiffs had bombs in their bags, that they were involved in causing the Boston Marathon bombing.” It also accuses the paper of subjecting the men to “scorn, hatred, ridicule, or contempt in the minds of a considerable and respectable segment of the community.”
The paper has not issued a statement in response to the suit. In April, The Post stood by its portrayal saying, “We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.”