A photograph taken seconds before the gruesome death of a man thrown in front of a subway train in New York City’s Times Square station
on Monday has become a flashpoint for the New York Post — not only because the newspaper printed it, but because the photographer is being criticized for trying to get a good picture instead of trying to prevent the tragedy.
The image of victim Ki Suk Han, 58, was captured by a Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi. Abbasi was at the 49th Street station at the time Han was hurled onto the tracks by a suspect still being sought by police.
According to Abbasi, he didn’t choose between taking the picture and saving Han’s life by helping him from the tracks, as some have asserted, but rather attempted to help the victim by running toward the oncoming train while flashing his camera to alert the operator of the man’s presence on the tracks.
The train’s operator saw Han on the tracks, but was unable to stop the train in time.
Abbasi’s explanation hasn’t stopped skeptics from suggesting he went for the picture.
“How about help the guy out!?” asked an assignment editor for the Florida-based WFTS-TV on Twitter.
That tweet prompted similar posts, such as from @LiannaBrinded: “Nice for someone to take the time to take a picture instead of hauling him up?!!?!?”
“It's disgusting and sickening.” @GianlucaMezzo tweeted.
“Guy on the tracks is the Kitty Genovese of our time,” @nickconfessore tweeted, referring to the 1964 killing of a 28-year-old New Yorker whose calls for help went unanswered by others in her Queens neighborhood as she was stabbed to death.
Confessore could also be criticizing the dozens of straphangers who, according to reports, went to the other end of the train’s platform as the struggle unfolded.
Many voices in the media also questioned the Post’s judgment in running the photo on its front page.
“Sickening rubber-necking front page from the New York Post . . . Imagine how this man's family feels,” tweeted Guardian sports editor Ian Prior.
The sentiment was shared by Howard Stern producer Lee Gerowitz, who tweeted, “The nypost and the employee who made the call to put the man about to die from a train on its cover are pieces of trash . . . Despicable.”
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