Prince Harry and Meghan involved in ‘near-catastrophic car chase’ with paparazzi in New York, spokesperson says

NEW YORK – Britain’s Prince Harry, his wife Meghan and his mother were involved in a “near-catastrophic car chase” in New York on Tuesday night, their office said.

It happened after an awards ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Midtown.

The couple had just attended the ceremony organized by the Ms. Foundation for Women, which paid tribute to Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

This took place after the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, left the ceremony. Neither Harry nor Meghan were injured.

Here is the full statement from their office:

“Last night the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Mrs Ragland were involved in a near disastrous car chase at the hands of a very aggressive ring of paparazzi.

“This relentless chase, which lasted more than two hours, resulted in multiple near misses involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers. While being a public figure comes with a level of public interest, this should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety.

“The release of these images, given the manner in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive and dangerous practice for all involved.”

NYPD sources told CBS New York that several cars followed the car Harry and Meghan were in after leaving an event at the Ziegfield Ballroom. Those same sources say they are now reviewing video evidence to piece together exactly what happened.

Zara Sayeed was in the crowd outside trying to catch a glimpse of the couple.

“A lot of paparazzi were heckling Meghan and Harry,” she said. “As they drove off, the way they chased the car, it reminds you of all the other scenes you’ve seen in the past with Prince Harry’s mother.”

“You had cars, cars and scooters, going the wrong way,” one man said.

Security expert on NYPD’s handling of Prince Harry, Meghan visit

Law enforcement sources told CBS News that after leaving the event around 10 p.m., the couple didn’t want the paparazzi to know where they were staying, so they surrounded Midtown for more than an hour with cars from the NYPD squad providing crowd control.

Police say while Harry and Meghan were not in danger, two uniformed officers could have been injured at one point.

The NYPD initially officially stated that “the incident is under investigation.” However, in a new statement, the NYPD offered its own assessment of what happened:

“On (Tuesday) evening May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Numerous photographers made their transport difficult. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and no There have been no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in this regard.”

Sukhcharn Singh drove the couple in his yellow cab for around 10 minutes of the whole ordeal.

“I think it’s all, you know, overkill and stuff like that,” he said.

He says that while they were in his car, he didn’t see any paparazzi acting particularly aggressive.

“No, no, no. No, it must have happened earlier, if they were being chased before,” Singh said.

Watch the report by Tim McNicholas

Taxi driver talks paparazzi hunt with Prince Harry and Meghan

They eventually made it to a police station, where the couple changed cars and returned safely to where they were staying.

“It’s a situation that many celebrities go through, but Harry and Meghan are, especially for the British paparazzi, the wealthiest,” royal expert Kate Williams said.

Mayor Eric Adams castigated those who sued Harry and Meghan as “reckless and irresponsible”.

“It’s clear that the press, the paparazzi, they want to have the right picture, they want to have the right story. But public safety always has to come first. From the briefing I received, two of our officers could have been injured. New York is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn’t speed anywhere, but it’s a densely populated city. And I think all of us, I don’t think that there are a lot of us who don’t remember how his mother died. And it would be horrible to lose an innocent bystander in a chase like this and have something happen to them too,” Adams said. “So I think we have to be extremely responsible. I thought it was a bit reckless and irresponsible,” Adams said. “I would find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high-speed chase, that would be – I would find it hard to believe. But we’ll find out exactly how long. But if it’s 10 minutes “, a 10 minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York. We have a lot of traffic, a lot of movement, a lot of people using our streets. Any type of high speed chase that involves something of this nature is inappropriate.

“The police do it in limited circumstances, when they go after violent people. But doing it because you want to get the right shot can be a place where people can get hurt in a real way” , added Adams.

John Miller, the former NYPD deputy intelligence and counterterrorism commissioner, spoke about the incident on CNN.

“It originally came as a story about, you know, they had a car accident yesterday, which apparently isn’t. What’s going on, talking to people around the protection detail that was attributed to this is that they were overwhelmed by paparazzi. They were people in cars. They were people on motorcycles. They were people on scooters that had surrounded the vehicle in Midtown traffic,” Miller said. “And now you have the NYPD team which is the protective detail behind the main car, and there are scooters and motorcycles running between them, in front of them, crossing in front of them. They’re trying to create some distance, and it’s getting worse and worse. So finally, in frustration, they made the decision to order, you know, to first try to slow traffic, block off a street, and get some distance. That didn’t work, because then the scooters and motorcycles flew down the sidewalks with scattered pedestrians,” Miller said. “So they went to the 19th precinct. This is 67th Street in Manhattan. They blocked off both ends of the street, they basically created a buffer. And then they spent some time, A, trying to calm down and say, ‘Okay, what’s our strategic plan to get to the next place without bringing all this crowd.'”

While the NYPD is used to protecting presidents and even kings, Miller says the Sussexes pose a unique security challenge.

“When you take royals and international tabloids and put them together, you get a certain press hysteria that doesn’t fit the normal mold, and that’s what they’ve been faced yesterday,” he said.

Harry and Meghan have long spoken candidly about aggressive paparazzi, and Harry has said in the past that he believes it was the overzealous paparazzi that caused the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while his limo was chased by paparazzi in Paris.

In a statement, media company Backgrid said four freelance photographers they worked with and were there on Tuesday night reported “there were no near misses or near misses during this incident.” .

It all comes as Prince Harry challenges the UK government in court over its decision to deny him the right to pay for police protection while visiting the UK.

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