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'Reckless' Behavior Could Lead to Arrests in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's N.Y.C. Car Chase, NYPD Says

NYPD said there was "persistently dangerous and unacceptable behavior on the part of the paparazzi" during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's May 2023 visit

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty </p> Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 16, 2023

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 16, 2023

New details are emerging on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's "near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi" in New York City last year.

Among the documents released on Wednesday related to the judgment in the lawsuit where Prince Harry was seeking police security in the U.K. was a letter from the New York City Police Department to the Metropolitan Police in London. Dated Dec. 6, 2023, the letter from the NYPD's Chief of Intelligence confirmed an investigation found "reckless" behavior by paparazzi when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex along with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, left the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards on May 16.

"We found the following: reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws and persistently dangerous and unacceptable behavior on the part of the paparazzi during the night in question," the Chief of Intelligence wrote, according to the Daily Beast. "The individuals operated vehicles, scooters and bicycles in a manner that forced the security team, which included an 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. Our conclusion, upon review with the Manhattan District Attorney's office, is that we have sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment."

The NYPD has not yet arrested anyone in connection with the incident.

The NYPD also said that there would be changes in security provided to Prince Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, on future visits to the city following the May incident. The couple returned to the city in October for events surrounding World Mental Health Day.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in New York City in Dec. 2022
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in New York City in Dec. 2022

Related: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Hit Back at Recent Criticism: 'This Couple Will Not Be Broken'

The day after the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards, where Meghan was honored and gave a speech, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement to PEOPLE, "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," the spokesperson added.

The NYPD said in a statement said in a statement at the time, "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."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams reacted to the event the following day by saying, "It's clear that the press, paparazzis, they want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety must always be at the forefront," Adams said. "I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible."

<p>Getty Images</p> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 16, 2023

Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 16, 2023

Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car crash in Paris that also involved photographers pursuing her vehicle.

Senior police officer David Douglas — who was part of Operation Paget, the investigation into the various conspiracy theories surrounding Diana's death launched by the British Metropolitan Police in 2004 — said during a 2022 interview that Princess Diana's death was a "terrible, tragic accident."

Host Ranvir Singh asked if it was the combination of no seatbelts, paparazzi chasing the car and the driver having some drinks.

"When you look at most incidents, accidents, you find there's a chain of events, and if any one of those chain of events had been different, it might not have led to that happening," Douglas said. "For example, if they'd been wearing seatbelts, our experts tell us it was probably an 80% chance that they would have survived the accident."

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<p>Neil Mockford/GC Images</p> Prince Harry attends court on June 7, 2023

Neil Mockford/GC Images

Prince Harry attends court on June 7, 2023

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Prince Harry lost his legal challenge to have police security in the U.K.

The Duke of Sussex argued that he should have automatic protection for himself and his family whenever they visit the U.K. from their home in California after the U.K. authorities stripped away the right in February 2020, shortly after he and Meghan stepped back from official royal duties.

In a statement in December, Harry said he "felt forced" to step back from his royal role and leave the U.K. in 2020, citing security concerns for his family including their two children, son Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2.

On Wednesday, however, High Court judge Peter Lane upheld the decision by the U.K. government and, specifically, the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) to downgrade his security.

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