Men identified as ‘Bag Men’ sue the New York Post

The Boston Globe

Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi filed a defamation suit against the New York Post Wednesday, Maria Sacchetti reports in The Boston Globe.

The paper ran a photo of the Massachusetts men under the headline “Bag Men” during the manhunt for suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The New York Post’s April 18, 2013, front page (courtesy the Newseum)

In an article that showed Barhoum and Zaimi with red circles around their heads, Larry Celona, Brad Hamilton and Jamie Schram wrote law enforcement officials were “circulating photos of two men spotted chatting near the packed finish line.” They also reported that while authorities had spotted two men in surveillance videos, it was “not immediately clear if the men in the law-enforcement photos are the same men in the surveillance videos.”

That didn’t slow down the Post’s cover-selection process any. New York Post Editor Col Allan told The Washington Post “We stand by our story” and said “we did not identify them as suspects.” New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch also defended the story on Twitter.

 

Barhoum is a 16-year-old high school student in Revere, Mass., Sacchetti reports, and Zaimi “works at a financial services firm while studying business part time.” Both men enjoy running. Barhoum’s lawyer Max Stern “said he would ask the court to compel the Post to divulge the source of its information,” Sachhetti writes.

“What kind of stereotyping and profiling, what type of reasoning, led the Post to think this was OK to do?” he said. “And would they have ever done this if this was just some white kid from the suburbs who was standing there with the backpack?”

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