Prince Harry, Meghan Markle moving from protected SUV to taxi amid chase makes 'zero sense': security expert
A security expert says the decision for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to leave their SUV and get into a taxicab during an alleged chase involving paparazzi in NYC was "unsafe."
Culture & Entertainment
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle switching from a chauffeured, protected SUV to a New York City taxicab during an alleged chase involving paparazzi photographers Tuesday night makes "zero sense," a security expert told Fox News Digital Wednesday.
"Completely zero sense. You're in a protected environment. You're with your security." AllSTAR Security President Mark Selden told Fox News Digital.
Prince Harry and Markle were tailed by photographers after leaving the highly-publicized charity event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City Tuesday evening.
The former royals apparently first sought refuge in a police station 18 blocks away.
Then, to the surprise of many New Yorkers, they stuffed themselves, mother-in-law Doria Ragland and a burly bodyguard into a yellow cab, only to loop back to the precinct.
Selden, who has spent two decades providing professional security to the rich and famous in Manhattan, expressed surprise at their decisions.
They were at a police precinct, which is the safest environment they could be in. And that's where they should have stayed in a safe environment, never should have left.
— Mark Selden, CEO Allstar Security
A spokesperson for the royal couple told Fox News Digital: "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 (New York Police Department) officers," the spokesperson said.
The NYPD told Fox News Digital that the photographers "made their transport challenging" but they arrived at their destination safely.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.
— Julian Phillips, NYPD deputy commissioner of public information
Sukhcharn Singh, the cab driver, told The Associated Press it was one of Markle and Harry's private security guards who flagged him down as he drove on 67th Street near the police station.
The couple spent several minutes at the station, waiting for the situation to de-escalate. Once it was safe, they left in a taxi, an official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.
Selden said he would have advised having at least two security guards as they reportedly only had one during the taxicab move, adding that the move to the taxicab put the Sussexes in "an unsafe position."
"If what I understand, they were with one security guard from what I've read, allegedly. And, you know, one security guard is obviously not enough for the former royals or the royals that they are."
The taxi driver said that the paparazzi "were following us the whole time," though he said he wouldn’t call it a chase. "They didn’t say much," Singh said. "They just asked my name and then after that Harry said thanks and have a good day."
"They gave me a $50" for a $17 fare, he told the AP. "I mean, when I’m going around the block that’s more than enough."
The taxi driver told The AP that Markle and Harry were about to give their destination when a garbage truck blocked their path, and instead, one of the royals told him to circle back to the precinct and gave him a generous tip.
Selden also said he thought the claim that the alleged chase lasted two hours in the city made "zero sense" to him.
"It makes zero sense to someone who's a New Yorker," he said. "You could have gone to a police station in 15 minutes anywhere in New York City, could have gone to a firehouse, go to a governmental building. You could have gone to a hotel where [the paparazzi] could have been locked out. You could have gone anywhere. You could have been in a much more safe situation, let alone running around New York City in a car."
He said he’s familiar with paparazzi chases because of his work protecting dignitaries, celebrities and business people.
"When you are someone that's in the public eye, you're always going to be a bit aware that there's going to be paparazzi looking at you. That's part of your job," he explained, "but at the same time, if you put yourself in an unsafe situation, you have to know how to get yourself to safety and your security, that's their job to know that."
Former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett told Fox News that the Sussexes would need "more police support" if they plan to stay in the U.S.
I believe if they’re going to stay in this country they’re going to continue to attract this type of attention from the media from the paparazzi," he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. "They’re going to have to get a little more police support. If you surround the vehicle with police you’re not going to have this type of situation."
He added that in the three years he served in the New York Secret Service field office, "I don't believe there was ever any high-speed chase that lasted two hours. You can actually drive through all five boroughs of New York in two hours."
He said more video or other evidence would need to come to light to make that claim more credible. "I also find it very unlikely that this occurred for two hours and NYPD made no arrests. To me, that seems the most bizarre part of the story," Emmett added.
Selden echoed Emmett's statement, saying: "I can't imagine running around New York City for two hours and not finding safety is beyond me. I mean, you can walk into a hotel, you can walk into a building, you can walk into a Fifth Avenue building, and they'll close the door behind them and lead you to safety … I mean, there are buildings you can walk into that will take you in for cover. I mean, all over New York."
The incident was also a reminder of Princess Diana’s deadly car crash following a high-speed paparazzi chase in Paris in 1997, though in this case, police said, no one was hurt.
Authorities are also looking through traffic camera footage and security footage to "piece together what transpired," a law enforcement source told Fox News Digital.