New York Post Publishes Photo of Man Killed by Subway Train

The New York Post splashed the photo of a man pushed in front of a train on their cover.

The New York Post splashed the photo of a man pushed in front of a train on their cover.

Boston Globe (“New York Post publishes grim photo of man about to die on subway tracks“):

A grim New York Post cover photo showing the final moments of a Queens man who authorities say was pushed onto subway tracks has sparked outrage among readers.

New York Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi photographed 58-year-old Ki Suk Han as he struggled yesterday to escape an oncoming train after being pushed onto the tracks by an unidentified man at the Times Square Station.

New York Police Department footage captured the argument that Han had with his assailant before being shoved onto the tracks.

The Post photograph was accompanied by the two headlines “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die,” and “Doomed.”


The photographer described trying to alert the train operator to Han by firing the camera flash.

“I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash,” Abbasi said.


Jeff Sonderman, a digital media fellow at the Poynter Institute, offered a roundup of critical Twitter postings from journalists who were angered by the Post’s decision to publish the photograph.

“Even if you accept that the 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,” Sonderman wrote.

Nick Confessore, a political reporter for The New York Times, wrote in a Twitter posting that Hun “is the Kitty Genovese of our time.”

Either the online version of the story had a different title or it’s been changed pursuant to the controversy:

NY Post (“Queens dad pushed to his death by madman in Times Square subway station“):

A Queens dad trying to protect fellow straphangers from a deranged man on a Times Square subway platform was hurled onto the tracks by the lunatic and fatally crushed by a train yesterday, cops and witnesses said.

Ki Suk Han, 58, desperately tried to scramble back to the platform as onlookers screamed, shouted and frantically waved their hands and bags in a bid to get the downtown Q train to stop at around 12:30 p.m.

Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi — who had been waiting on the platform of the 49th Street station — ran toward the train, repeatedly firing off his flash to warn the operator.

“I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash,” said Abbasi, whose camera captured chilling shots of Suk’s tragic fight for his life.

The train slowed, but a dazed and bruised Han still wound up hopelessly caught between it and the platform as it came to a halt.

A shaken Abbasi said the train “crushed him like a rag doll.”


Han, who lived with his wife and college-age daughter in Elmhurst, was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His attacker was last seen running out of the station’s 47th Street exit — at the north end of Times Square — heading northbound on Seventh Avenue. Cops last night were scouring surveillance video for signs of him.

The killer was described by police as black, 30 to 40 years old, about 5-foot-9, with short dreadlocks. He was wearing a white T-shirt, dark jacket, filthy jeans, black sneakers with a white stripe and a black beanie cap.

The horrific drama unfolded after Han approached the crazed man — who police sources described as a panhandler and witnesses said had been harassing and cursing at straphangers — on the southbound platform and tried to calm him down.

The brutal and shocking crime is, alas, newsworthy. Whether it belongs on the cover of the newspaper is debatable. But it does strike me as beyond the pale to post what amounts to a snuff picture on the cover.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mantis says:

    Big surprise. The New York Post has never had a shred of decency.

  2. Geek, Esq. says:

    I’m not sure that lurid descriptions of the death are on one side of a line but a photo that shows–in haunting and dramatic fashion–the horror of the situation is on the other.

    Too much journalism amounts to sanitizing news coverage. If you want people to take subway platform safety more seriously, that picture should do the trick.

  3. Franklin says:

    I appreciate that you had the decency not to republish the photo here. I’ve seen it at least two other places (HuffPost and can’t remember the other) while they complain about how terrible it is to publish it. Actually, the caption may be the worst part of it.

    I have to admit, if it was a bad guy I might not care as much. But the person who died was apparently trying to protect other people from some crazy dude. So apparently the Post thinks it’s a good idea to make his family and friends suffer more so they can make a couple bucks.

  4. lerinne says:

    This is not about taking subways seriously. What campaign are you even referring too? The man was in an argument with another person and was pushed onto the track. And instead of people assisting him, they take pictures and put it on the front page of a magazine. Lets not pretend this was done in the hopes of raising awareness for subway safety. Thats the last thing on anybodys mind. Dont patronize the situation and try to claim how much good this will spread. Im not talking about freedom of the press, whos right it is to take pictures in a free country and all that other BS. Right is right, wrong is wrong. This was very wrong and disgusting.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s a Murdoch paper so the grisly sensationalism is not entirely surprising.

  6. janet says:

    @mantis:R Umar Abassi isn’t even a NY Post Photographer. He is also NOT a freelancer. This appears to be his FIRST photo in the NY Post. He has been published in Gothamist previously and has a bunch of non commercial fashion pics of women on websites but no one has ever seen any photos by him in the NY Post prior to this. Never news photos. Something stinks about this whole claim about the guy being a “NY Post Photographer” !!!!

  7. bv says:

    I guess they were waiting for a hero to step forward and save the man instead just doing it themselves.