Prince Harry, Meghan Markle faced 'reckless' behavior in New York City car chase, according to NYPD

Harry, Meghan and her mom were pursued by paparazzi while in New York last year.

February 28, 2024, 2:24 PM

New details have been released about the car chase involving Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in New York City last year.

The car chase -- which occurred as Harry, Meghan and Meghan's mom Doria Ragland, were chauffeured home from an awards ceremony last May -- involved "reckless" behavior on the part of the paparazzi, according to a New York Police Department investigation.

While no arrests have been made to date, the investigation concluded there was "sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment."

Law enforcement sources in New York told ABC News Wednesday there are no plans to make any arrests in the May incident.

The results of the NYPD investigation were shared publicly Wednesday as part of a ruling issued by a London judge in a court case involving Harry.

"The investigation had found reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws and persistently dangerous and unacceptable behaviour on the part of paparazzi during the night in question," the judgement stated. "They had operated vehicles, scooters and bicycles in a manner that forced the security team, which included the NYPD lead car, to take evasive actions on several occasions and a circuitous route to avoid being struck by pursuing vehicles or trapped on side blocks."

The judge ruled Wednesday that the U.K. government had the right to strip Harry of an automatic security detail during visits to Britain. With the ruling, Harry's ability to have taxpayer-funded security protection in the U.K. will continue to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

PHOTO: In this May 16, 2023 file photo, Doria Ragland, left, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, center, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards at Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York.
In this May 16, 2023 file photo, Doria Ragland, left, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, center, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards at Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women, FILE

Harry, the fifth in line to the throne, has been fighting in court against a 2020 decision by the U.K. government that denied his family automatic taxpayer-funded police protection while in Britain after he and Meghan stepped down from their roles as senior working royals.

Harry, 39, plans to appeal the judge's ruling, a spokesperson for the duke told ABC News on Wednesday.

Harry and Meghan, who now live in California, traveled with Meghan's mom to New York City last May to attend the Ms. Foundation's annual gala, where Meghan received a Women of Vision Award.

After leaving the gala, held at Ziegfeld Ballroom, the Sussexes and Ragland were pursued by paparazzi.

At the time of the incident, a spokesperson for the Sussexes accused paparazzi of being "highly aggressive" and driving on the sidewalk and running red lights during a two-hour "relentless pursuit" of the famous pair.

"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," the spokesperson said.

The Sussexes and Ragland were uninjured in the chase and made it safely to their destination, according to an NYPD statement at the time.

"There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," the NYPD said in a statement, noting the department assisted Harry and Meghan's private security team. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."

The Sussexes' claims that the car chase was a two-hour "relentless pursuit" were questioned in the immediate aftermath of the chase by some, including members of the paparazzi and the mayor of New York City.

Celebrity news agency Backgrid USA, which received photos and videos from four freelance photographers who were covering Harry and Meghan's stay, refuted claims of a "near catastrophic car chase."

According to the photographers, "there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during this incident," Backgrid USA said in a statement at the time. "The photographers have reported feeling that the couple was not in immediate danger at any point."

The photographers claimed that one of the four SUVs in Harry's security escort "was driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless," including blocking off streets, according to Backgrid.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at the time it was "a bit reckless and irresponsible" for paparazzi to chase Harry and Meghan. The mayor, however, expressed skepticism the chase lasted two hours.

"I would find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high-speed chase," the mayor said as he took questions from reporters during an unrelated event in May 2023. "But if it's 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous."

Harry and Meghan have widely criticized the press and paparazzi and asked for privacy in the past.

Harry's mother Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.

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