Outrage over New York Post front page showing man about to be killed by Subway train

Picture shows a man struggling to get off the tracks after being pushed by an attacker

Imagine the scene. A train is pulling into a busy New York subway station near Times Square. On the platform is the usual big city jumble of commuters and wide-eyed tourists. But in a horrific departure from the norm, there is a man on the track, moments away from certain death. What do you do?

If you're R Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer for the New York Post who was on the mid-town platform as such a scene unfolded on Monday, you wield your camera.

"I had my camera up. It wasn't even set to the right settings and I just kept shooting and flashing, hoping the train driver would see something and be able to stop," Mr Abbasi said, recounting the tragic event.

Right settings or not, Mr Abbasi managed to capture a clear image of Ki-Suck Han, the man on the platform. Moments later, Mr Han was fatally run over by a Q-Train. And the next day, Mr Abbasi's newspaper published an oversized record of the scene on its front page, prompting questions about the rights and wrongs of, first, capturing such an image and, once the die has been cast, publishing it with a bombastic headline.

Today, police in New York arrested and charged Naeem Davis, a 30-year-old homeless man who had been taken in for questioning on Tuesday, for the death of Mr Han. Mr Davis , who was reported to have several prior arrests on his record, was detained on a charge of second degree murder after police tracked him down based on leads from a security video and he is said to have implicated himself in the death of Mr Han, 58, during questioning.

Meanwhile, questions were being asked about the New York Post's decision to publish the image of the scene with the headline: "DOOMED". A subheading above said: "Pushed on the track, this man is about to die".

David Carr, the long-standing media commentator at the New York Times, couldn't have been clearer on where he stood. "The treatment of the photo was driven by a moral and commercial calculus that was sickening to behold," he wrote in a blog post yesterday.

At ProPublica, the investigative journalism non-profit organisation, reporter Charles Ornstein tweeted that the cover image "crosses the line". "A pic of a man pushed onto a subway track right before he is struck and killed. Grim," he said in what was one of many messages critiquing the image posted by users on the micro-blogging website.

The photographer, Mr Abbasi, also faced criticism despite his defence that he was using the camera to alert the subway driver. In a piece for the Post, he wrote: "The victim was so far away from me, I was already too far away to reach him when I started running. The train hit the man before I could get to him, and nobody closer tried to pull him out."

Mr Abbasi added: "I have to say I was surprised at the anger over the pictures... But I can't let the armchair critics bother me. They were not there. They have no idea how very quickly it happened... People think I had time to set the camera and take photos, and that isn't the case. I just ran toward that train."

John Cook, at US online blog network Gawker Media, sounded a note of scepticism about the account, saying it was "amazing" that Mr Abbasi "took a focused composed pic" of Mr Han "even [though] he says he was just using [the] flash to warn."

But Vincent Laforet, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, said he was taking Mr Abassi's explanation at face value. "If he felt he could not physically make it to the man... firing his flash to get the operator's attention may have been his only recourse," he told Gawker Media.

Moreover, he made the case that recording disturbing events, in instances where intervention is not possible, "can be a necessary act that could potentially prevent it from happening to others in the future".

He added: "In this particular case, it appears that little could have been done to save this man in time."

A representative for the New York Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker