Tappan Zee Bridge protester free on $500 bail

November 8, 2011 4:03:25 PM PST
The man who dangled for hours from the Tappan Zee Bridge has been charged with a variety of crimes and was released on bail.

Michael Davitt, 54, of Garnerville, was released from Westchester Medical Center without injury Monday and was processed in Tarrytown. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

He was released on $500 cash bail and is due in court again on November 17.

Davitt makes no bones about it. His dramatic stunt was a cry for attention and indeed it is now front page news. For three and a half hours the 54-year old from Garnerville dangled off the side of the Tappan Zee Bridge on a rope ladder. Davitt insists he wasn't suicidal and told rescue units as much.

"I didn't want to hurt anybody or endanger anybody else," he said.

Davitt worked for Rockland County for 19 years as a substance abuse counselor. In 2008 he was found mentally unfit to do his job. Since then Davitt has filed numerous lawsuits against the county. His banner on Monday included the words "coverup" and "retaliation."

He says he started planning the stunt a couple of weeks ago. He tied the rope to a truck, stopped mid-span and went over the side. He says he only got nervous when rescuers started pulling him up.

At that point, Davitt dove about 10 feet and started to swim. He was promptly arrested, and he is free on bail. Rockland officials had no comment other than to point out they kept Davitt on the county payroll through this year, until he was awarded a state disability pension.

Davitt, who is a Navy veteran and recovering addict, says that's not good enough.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)