NYC Mayor Eric Adams recalled the devastating death of Princess Diana in 1997 on Wednesday as he called on photographers to remember that "public safety must always be at the forefront" of their minds.
Following the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" involving paparazzi in New York City on Tuesday evening, Mayor Adams shared brief remarks on the incident, and shared he "thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible," the Mayor added.
"New York City is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn't be speeding anywhere, but this is a densely populated city and I think all of us ... I don't think there's many of us who don't recall how [Prince Harry's] mom died and it would be horrific to lose innocent bystanders during a chase like this, and something to have happened to them as well, so I think we have to be extremely responsible," he said.
He acknowledged that he would be briefed in depth later where he would be able to share the exact time frames, but added: "I would find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high speed car chase, but we will find out the exact duration of it.
"But if it's ten-minutes, even a ten-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City. We have a lot of traffic and movement and people using our streets, any type of high speed chase... is inappropriate."
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Prince Harry and Meghan's spokesperson released a statement on Wednesday morning, sharing that the incident occurred after Meghan received a Woman of Vision award at the Ms. Foundation for Women's annual gala.
The spokesperson said: "Last night, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland 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. "While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone's safety."
On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Police Department released a statement about the incident. It read: "On Wednesday evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."
It is understood that Harry and Meghan believe the pursuit could have been fatal, as it involved six blacked-out vehicles with unidentified people driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them.
The family was staying at a private residence and did not want to compromise the security of their friend’s home.
It is said that traffic violations made by the paparazzi included driving on the pavement and through red lights, reversing down a one-way street, illegally blocking a moving vehicle and driving while photographing and while on the phone; that while those involved were confronted by uniformed police multiple times, they continued the pursuit; and there is footage taken from security along with other evidence to support these allegations.
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