A spokesman said Prince Harry and Meghan were involved in a “catastrophic near car chase” with paparazzi in New York City

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

It happened after the award ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in the city center.

The couple had just attended the gala by the Lady Foundation for Women, which honored Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

It happened as soon as the couple and Megan’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 Lady Ragland were involved in a near-disastrous car chase by a highly aggressive gang of paparazzi.

This relentless chase, which lasted for more than two hours, resulted in several close-by collisions involving other drivers on the road, a pedestrian and two NYPD officers. While public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it shouldn’t come with a price. of anyone’s safety.

“The publication of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous for all involved.”

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

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

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

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“You’ve had cars and cars and motorcycles going the wrong way,” one man said.

A security expert with the New York Police Department to deal with Prince Harry, Meghan’s visit

Law enforcement sources told CBS News that after leaving the event around 10 p.m., the couple didn’t want the paparazzi knowing where they lived, so they circled downtown for more than an hour with NYPD squad cars providing crowd control.

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

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

“on [Tuesday] On May 16, the New York Police Special Security Team helped protect the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were many photographers who made their transfer difficult. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived at their destination and there have been no reports of collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests.”

Suchcharn Singh drove the couple in his yellow car for about 10 minutes of this whole ordeal.

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

He says when they were in his car, he didn’t see the paparazzi act particularly aggressive.

“No, no, no, no, this must have happened earlier, if they had been chased before,” Singh said.

Watch Tim McNicholas’ report

Taxi driver talks paparazzi chase with Prince Harry, Meghan

They eventually went to a police station, where the couple switched cars and returned safely to where they were staying.

Royal expert Kate Williams said: “This is a situation many celebrities go through, but Harry and Meghan have, especially for the British paparazzi, the best money.”

He criticized Mayor Eric Adams Those who went after Harry and Meghan as “reckless and irresponsible”.

“Obviously the press, the paparazzi, they want to get the right picture, they want to get the right story. But public safety should always be first. The briefing I had, two of our officers may have been injured. New York City is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn’t be going fast anywhere, but this is a densely populated city. And I think all of us, I don’t think there are many of us, who don’t remember how his mother died. And it would be a terrible thing to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like that and something that happened to them too,” Adams said. “So I think we have to be very responsible. I thought that was reckless and a little bit irresponsible,” Adams said. “I find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high-speed chase, that would be — I find it hard to believe. But we’ll find out the exact length of that. But if it’s 10 minutes, the minute chase is very dangerous in New York City. We have a lot of traffic, And a lot of traffic, a lot of people using our streets. Any kind of high-speed chase that involves something like that is inappropriate.”

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

John Miller, former NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, spoke about the incident on CNN.

“This originally came out as a story of, you know, they got into a car accident yesterday, and it seems like it’s not like that. What’s the case, talking to people about the protective detail that’s meant for, are they overwhelmed by the paparazzi are people in cars. These were people on motorbikes. It was These are people on motorbikes that circle the vehicle in downtown traffic,” Miller said. “And now you have the NYPD team that’s the protective detail behind the lead vehicle, and there’s mopeds and motorcycles running in between, in front of them, crossing in front of them. They’re trying to create some distance, and it’s getting worse. So, in the end, in frustration, they make a leadership decision,” he says. You know, by trying to slow the traffic down first, turn off a street, get some distance. It didn’t work, because then the motorcycles flew onto the sidewalks and pedestrians splattered,” Miller said. “So they went to the 19th arrondissement. That’s 67th Street in Manhattan. They closed off both ends of the street, basically created a barricade. Then they spent a while, A, trying to calm down on this and say ‘OK, what’s our strategic plan to get to the next location without Bring this whole crowd. “

While the NYPD is well practiced at protecting presidents and even royalty, Miller says the Sussexes pose a unique security challenge.

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

Harry and Meghan have always been outspoken about aggressive paparazzi, and Harry has stated in the past that he feels it was the overzealous paparazzi who caused the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 Paris car crash as a limousine. He was chased by the paparazzi in Paris.

Backgrade Media said in a statement that four freelance photographers who were there Tuesday night reported “there were no near misses during this incident.”

It all comes as Prince Harry is challenging the British government in court over its decision to deny him the right to pay for police protection when he visits the UK.

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