VIDEO: Protester Dangles From N.Y. Tappan Zee Bridge
The government worker was protesting corruption and the loss of his job
The Tappan Zee Bridge, which spans the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, was the site of a unique protest by government worker Michael Davitt, 54, on Monday morning and afternoon.
Davitt was unhappy about losing his job three years ago as a substance abuse counselor at the Rockland County mental health office. Since he was let go, Davitt had been regularly picketing to the legislature, insisting that corrupt officials were involved in a cover-up of some sort.
Rockland County Spokesperson Ron Levine tells another story. "He wasn't able to perform his essential job functions," Levine said, according to New York's Daily News. "He's a troubled individual."
When his picketing and protesting got little attention, Davitt rigged a rope ladder to the frame of his Dodge Ram, parked it on the Tappan Zee bridge, threw the ladder over the side, and climbed down, where he sat about midway between the bridge and the water for approximately three hours, smoking cigarettes and drinking out of a thermos, while the city halted traffic across the bridge above, according to Gothamist.com. There was a giant blue sign attached to Davitt's ladder that read, "Rockland Executive Legislature Coverup Retaliation." Only one time did Davitt communicate with officials and rescue workers, and that was to request a tobacco pipe be brought to him. Police denied his request.
After a Special Operations Response Team removed Davitt's ladder from the Dodge Ram in order to fix it to a device of their own that would allow them to lower the entire ladder, containing Davitt and all, onto an awaiting police boat below, Davitt jumped into the water and started swimming. Police fished him out almost immediately.
After being taken to the hospital, Davitt was charged with criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest.
Watch a video of the coverage from ABC News here: