A disgruntled government employee took his labor concerns to the Tappan Zee Bridge near Tarrytown, N.Y., where he hung for several hours Monday afternoon with a sign directed at Rockland Country Legislature before he jumped into the water and was safely taken into custody.
According to the New York Daily News, the man was identified as Michael Davitt, a former a substance abuse counselor for Rockland County's department of mental health. His sign read: "Rockland Executive Legislature Cover Up Retaliation."
Since his 2008 dismissal, Davitt has protested on and off outside of legislature meetings, as reported by Rockland Sheriff Department William Barbera.
Rockland County spokesperson Ron Levine explained Davitt’s firing in a statement, Levine said, “"He wasn't able to perform his essential job functions, he’s a troubled individual."
The protestor was tied to a van stopped on the bridge for hours. He swung from a rope dangling over the Hudson River about 75 feet below the bridge since about 10:45 a.m.
Levine said he was unsure of the man's complaints. He reported that Davitt had applied for disability payments and had been approved.
"This is bizarre,'' Levine said. "This is a very strange way of making a point."
Just before 2 p.m., the man was pulled into a rescue boat and taken into custody. According to WCBS, the incident caused major traffic buildup and two lanes were shut down for most of Monday.
The New York Daily News reported that Davitt's condition was not immediately known.
In a statement, Levine said, "Obviously our main priority was that he was brought to safety. That was really a harrowing experience for everybody in the country."
The man was swung from the middle of the bridge at a major crossing north of New York City that connects suburban Westchester and Rockland counties.
The Rockland County Department of Mental Health is a community mental health center funded by State and County government. Its mission is to "provide high quality mental health services to residents in an ethical, courteous, timely, safe and cost effective manner."