Warning: This story may be upsetting to some people.
R. Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer at The New York Post, has been accused of letting a man die for the sake of a front-page photo.
The photo shows 58-year-old Ki Suk Han, of Queens, struggling to climb onto a subway platform after he was pushed onto the train tracks. In the photo, an approaching subway train is clearly pictured as it runs toward him. Han was killed seconds later.
The New York Post, which broke the story, published the graphic image on the front page of its Tuesday edition.
Han’s death was the result of a verbal altercation with a suspect caught on tape at the station. The suspect is thought to be mentally ill; he appeared to be standing off to the side of the crowd when he and Ki Suk Han began speaking. Some time later, the suspect is thought to have pushed the man down off the subway platform and into the path of the train.
“This photographer, instead of extending a hand and helping pull the guy up onto the platform, he kept taking pictures,” said Dori. “And the photographer said, ‘oh, yeah, I did that because I thought the flash of my camera might stop the train.'”
Dori thinks that the photographer sacrificed the man’s life purposefully to get a dramatic photo. Having visited the same train station on a visit to New York, Dori knows how fast the trains race to a stop.
Producer Jake said that, before he saw the photo, he assumed that Ki Suk Han was down on the tracks and that any effort to save him would seriously endanger the photographer. However, as he later saw, it was just a matter of pulling the victim up to the platform.
“There’s an argument to be made that maybe this guy didn’t think it would be possible to get down there and to save that guy’s limp body,” said Jake. “But this guy is standing up, he’s already a foot above the ledge. And his arms are reached out, you can tell he was trying to pull himself up – he just wasn’t able to do so.”
Many people discussing the situation on Facebook accuse Abbasi of letting Han die. Others say that the photographer was not obligated to act, considering the fact that he might have put himself in danger as well.
“You have to try,” said Dori.