Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

December 5, 2012

Suspect in fatal NYC subway push implicates self

(Continued)

"The people who were standing close to him ... they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an effort," he added.

Ethical and emotional questions arose Tuesday over the published photograph of the helpless man standing before the oncoming train accompanied by the headline that read in part: "This man is about to die."

The moral issue among professional photojournalists in such situations is "to document or to assist," said Kenny Irby, an expert in the ethics of visual journalism at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based nonprofit journalism school.

Other media outlets chimed in on the controversy, many questioning why the photograph had been taken and published.

"I'm sorry. Somebody's on the tracks. That's not going to help," said Al Roker on NBC's "Today" show as the photo was displayed Tuesday.

Abbasi said he did not control how the images were used in the Post, but he did tell the "Today" show he has sold the images.

Larry King reached out to followers on Twitter to ask: "Did the (at)nypost go too far?" CNN's Soledad O'Brien tweeted: "I think it's terribly disturbing — imagine if that were your father or brother."

The Post declined to share the photo with The Associated Press for distribution.

Subway pushes are feared but fairly unusual. Among the more high-profile cases was the January 1999 death of Kendra Webdale, who was shoved to her death by a former mental patient.

After that, the Legislature passed Kendra's Law, which lets mental health authorities supervise patients who live outside institutions to make sure they are taking their medications and aren't a threat to safety.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that he believed that "in this case, it appeared to be a psychiatric problem."

The mayor said Han, "if I understand it, tried to break up a fight or something and paid for it with his life."

_____

Associated Press writers Tom Hays and Tom McElroy contributed to this story.

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