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Updated: December 6, 2012 23:32 IST

Death on camera spurs passions

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Naeem Davis during his arraignment on murder charges in New York on Wednesday. Photo: AP
Naeem Davis during his arraignment on murder charges in New York on Wednesday. Photo: AP

Authorities charged a homeless man in the death of a Queens resident pushed in front of an oncoming subway train and killed as onlookers watched.

Naeem Davis (30) was arraigned on Wednesday night on a second-degree murder charge and ordered held without bail in the death of Ki-Suck Han (58) on Monday. He is due back in court on December 11.

Prosecutor James Lin told the judge that Davis saw the train strike Han before leaving the Times Square station.

But Davis’ Legal Aid lawyer, Stephen Pokart, said outside court that his client reportedly “was involved in an incident with a man who was drunk and angry”.


A witness, Leigh Weingus, told The New York Times that Han appeared to be aggressive toward Davis.

Davis has several prior arrests in New York and Pennsylvania on mostly minor charges including drug possession.

A freelance photographer for The New York Post was waiting for a train on Monday afternoon when he said he saw a man approach Han at the Times Square station, get into an altercation with him and push him into the train’s path.

The Post photo in Tuesday’s edition showed Ki-Suck Han with his head turned toward the train, his arms reaching up but unable to climb off the tracks in time.

The photographer, R Umar Abbasi, told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday that he was trying to alert the motorman to what was going on by flashing his camera.

“It took me a second to figure out what was happening ... I saw the lights in the distance. My mind was to alert the train,” said Mr. Abbasi.

“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.

In a written account Mr. Abbasi gave The Post, he said a crowd took videos and snapped photos on their cell-phones after Han was pulled, limp, onto the platform.

He said he shoved them back as a doctor and another man tried to resuscitate the victim, but Han died in front of them.

Ashley Han and her mother, Serim Han, met reporters on Wednesday inside their Presbyterian church in Queens. The family came to the U.S. from Korea about 25 years ago.

They said Han was unemployed and had been looking for work. Their pastor said the family was so upset by the front-page photo of Han in The Post that they had to stay with him for comfort.


Subway riders said they were shocked by Han’s death but that it’s always a silent fear for many of the more than 5.2 million commuters who ride the subway on an average weekday.

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