A photo on the cover of Tuesday’s New York Post depicting a man struggling to climb off a subway track before he was fatally struck by a train has drawn heated reactions — specifically chastising the paper and the photographer. Editor's note: The image appears below, and some viewers may find it disturbing. Scroll down to see the picture, or navigate away from the page to avoid it.
Queens man Ki Suk Han, 58, died after he was pushed on the tracks by an unnamed attacker moments before an oncoming train arrived at the 49th Street N, R, Q subway platform in Manhattan on Monday afternoon, according to police. On Tuesday afternoon, police confirmed they had someone in custody in connection with the attack. The photographer who shot the chilling image, New York Post freelancer R. Umar Abbasi, has sparked outrage on social media from those wondering why he did not do something to help pull Han off the track instead of taking pictures.
Abbasi told the New York Post that he started running toward Han and hitting the flash on his camera while shooting photos, hoping to catch the attention of the train’s driver.
“The most painful part was I could see him getting closer to the edge. He was getting so close,’’ Abbasi told The Post. “And people were running toward him and the train. I didn’t think about [the attacker] until after. In that moment, I just wanted to warn the train – to try and save a life.”
New York Post grimly captures moment before man is struck by subway after being pushed onto tracks. twitter.com/nytjim/status/…— Jim Roberts (@nytjim) December 4, 2012
In the Twitterverse and elsewhere, many are not buying that explanation. One is hard-pressed to find anyone defending Abbasi's actions.
“Getting a conductor's attention with a flash — and maybe even blinding him with it — doesn't seem like the way you'd necessarily help someone that's clinging to the subway platform,’’ wrote The Atlantic’s Alexander Abad-Santos.
The New York Post’s decision to run the photo at all, particularly on the cover with the headline “Doomed,” has also been questioned online, given that it shows the final moments of a man’s life. There also have been those defending Abbasi by saying not all of the facts are known yet and that the real culprit is the man who pushed Han on the tracks.
The perpetrator has been described as a panhandler who was cursing and intimidating strangers before Han went to try to calm him down. The man then flung Han on the tracks, police and witnesses told The Post.
Take a look at a sampling of reactions to the photo and tell us, what do you think the photographer should have done?