New York police say Harry and Meghan car chase was ‘a bit chaotic’ but not ‘near catastrophic’

19 May 2023, 06:40

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple were in a "relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours"
A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple were in a "relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours". Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

New York police officials have told a US news outlet that the Harry and Meghan paparazzi car chase was ‘a bit of a chaotic scene’ but denied it was ‘near catastrophic.’

NBC News spoke to policing figures who described the incident, which the couple described as a ‘relentless pursuit lasting more than two hours’, as ‘chaotic’.

ABC News meanwhile said police sources described the incident as possibly being ‘scary’ for those involved but added the media presence was ‘not the kind of caravan described by sources close to Harry and Meghan.’

Julian Phillips, deputy commissioner of public information in New York, revealed that the NYPD had 'assisted' the couple's private security team.

Former Royal Security police chief Dai Davies told the Daily Mail that it ‘beggars believe’ that Harry and Meghan’s team hailed a taxi and bundled them inside.

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“Something has gone horribly wrong with the strategy, planning and tactics. I am not defending the paparazzi whatsoever but it seems to be that it was the decisions made by Harry and Meghan’s security team on the night that put civilians in danger. Not least an innocent taxi driver. It’s just an incredulous situation.”

The taxi driver, Sukhcharn 'Sunny' Singh denied that in his experience it had been 'near catastrophic’.’

“I don't think that's true”, he said. He insisted that he at no time felt unsafe.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland were said to have been ‘shaken up’ by the incident.

Tom Buda, the head of the security firm responsible for their transport told NBC News the 'chase was frightening' and was 'putting them in danger’.

Witness describes ‘aggressive’ paparazzi ‘heckling’ Harry and Meghan before car chase

Harry and Meghan were followed by paparazzi after attending an awards ceremony with the duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, according to a spokesman for the couple.

The New York Police Department said there were no arrests, injuries or reported collisions but said "numerous photographers" had "made their transport difficult" on Tuesday evening.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the pair and Meghan's mother "were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi".

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers," he added.

Harry, Meghan and Ms Ragland had been at the Ms Foundation For Women's 50th anniversary gala event.

It was Harry and Meghan's first public appearance together since the duchess's absence from the King's coronation earlier this month.

Of the incident, Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple's security team, told CNN: "The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal."

But photographers told celebrity news agency Backgrid USA there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during the incident.

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