On Monday (Dec. 2), Ki-Suk Han, 58, was pushed onto a subway track at the 49th Street train station in New York City after a verbal dispute with another man. Just seconds before being struck by an oncoming train and killed, freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi snapped a horrifying shot of Han awaiting his fate. This photo ran on the front page of the NY Post tabloid newspaper. “Doomed," the headline read. "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die."
Since, Abbasi and the NY Post have come under fire for what some believe was a lapse in moral and journalistic judgment. While the Post is no stranger to such controversies -- being infamous for questionable photos and headlines -- Abbasi is now struggling to assure naysayers that he was trying to help Han by using his camera’s flash to alert the train conductor.
"I had no idea what I was shooting,” Abbasi said in a NY Post article. “I'm not even sure it was registering with me what was happening. I was just looking at that train coming."
But the general public has taken to social media outlets to express their outrage about Abbasi’s course of action, or lack thereof.
“Abbasi claims he hoped the flash would warn the subway driver,” wrote Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources. “I'm not buying it. His first instinct was to record death, not prevent it.”
The NY Post has not gotten off easily either.
"Even if you accept that that photographer and other bystanders did everything they could to try to save the man, it's a separate question of what the Post should have done with that photo," wrote Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school. "All journalists we've seen talking about it online concluded the Post was wrong to use the photo, especially on its front page."
Han was reportedly on his way to the Korean consulate to have his passport renewed. After being pushed, horrified onlookers fled the station as law enforcement authorities began the search for a suspect.
Police have now reported that a homeless man Naeem Davis, 30, has been arrested and he is being charged with murder.