A 54-year-old who was fired from his job at the Rockland County mental health department in 2008 spent three hours yesterday dangling off of a rope ladder on the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The man, identified as Michael Davitt, 54, of Garnerville, N.Y., had been upset over losing his counseling job in 2008, Rockland county sheriff James Kralik said. In an apparent attempt to make a point, Davitt set up a rope ladder at around the midpoint of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and secured himself to a harness attached to the bottom part of the rope ladder. At the end of the rope was a sign that reportedly read “Rockland Executive Legislature Coverup Retaliation.”
Davitt was hanging 75 feet above the Hudson river for nearly three hours, swaying around in the wind and occasionally taking a swig from a bottle he took with him in his little adventure. Eventually police were able to lower the ladder closer to the water, at which point Davitt took a 10-foot plunge into the Hudson river, where he was eventually recovered by a police boat uninjured.
Davitt frequently protested at Rockland Legislature meetings, and was more recently under watch from police after some comments were made that legislators took to be threatening. However, police never arrested Davitt during his protests, saying that his protests were peaceful.
“We decided to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t step over the line, and he never did,” said Sheriff James Kralik. “Today he not only stepped over the line, he jumped over it.”
You can see a video of the man’s protest below, courtesy of the Associated Press.