15 Sep 2014
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UPDATE: Protester Hanging Off Tappan Zee Bridge Lowered To Safety [VIDEO]

A man equipped with a harness jumped off the center of bridge, dangling above river with protest sign targeting Rockland County executive and legislature

Update: 5.57 p.m.: Watch the above video to see protester Michael Davitt jump into the Hudson River off his rope hanging from the Tappan Zee Bridge. Footage also shows Davitt being loaded onto an ambulance in Tarrytown. He was then transported to State Police barracks, authorities said.

Patch has also learned Davitt against the Rockland sheriff. In exclusive interview, Davitt's neighbors describe him as "."

Update: 1:58 p.m.: Michael Davitt has been safely lowered from his perch above the Hudson River and below the Tappan Zee Bridge. He is now on a rescue boat and being taken to shore.

As Davitt was lowered down to the river, he either fell or jumped into the river. However, emergency workers pulled him on to a rescue boat.

Davitt appeared uninjured as he was placed into an ambulance in Tarrytown as the more than three-hour ordeal ended.

Update: 12:58 p.m.: According to the Rockland County Executive's Office, the protestor, Michael Davitt, "was separated from County service in 2008 because he was no longer able to perform his essential job functions as a Substance Abuse Counselor 1. He subsequently applied for and received a disability retirement from New York State."

County spokesman Ron Levine said county officials do not know what Davitt's problem is with the county executive or the Legislature.

"This is certainly not the way you go about getting heard," Levine said. "We're totally taken aback that he decided to do this today. He put himself at risk and put all the emergency workers at risk."

Davitt, 54, was employed by the county's Department of Mental Health in Pomona from 1991 to 2008. 

Sheriff's Department Capt. William Barbera said Davitt has been escorted off county property several times involving his one-man protests in New City. However, Barbera said those incidents did not lead to any arrests.

Update 12:07 p.m.: The man hanging off the Tappan Zee Bridge is Michael Davitt, a Rockland County resident who has appeared at several county council meetings alleging that he had wrongfully lost his job with the county, according to Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik.

Davitt, of West Haverstraw, has for the past several years conducted one-man protests in front of the Rockland County Office Building in New City with a sign reading "Indict Vanderhoef," and has repeatedly spoken before sessions of the Rockland County Legislature. Kralik described Davitt's comments to the Legislature as "somewhat threatening" and related to the loss of his job at the county's health complex in Pomona.  

He formerly worked for the Department of Mental Health. Davitt most recently spoke about EEOP issues at a county legislative meeting on March 1. Prior to that, he also spoke at the Feb. 15 and Jan. 18 sessions. 

The grey-haired man, wearing tan pants and a white t-shirt, is hanging on a perch connected to what looks like a rope ladder.

11:00 a.m.: An apparent protester is hanging off the center of the Tappan Zee Bridge, tied off to a van that is stopped on the bridge.

State Police based in Tarrytown said the individual's actions have closed one lane. Traffic cameras on the bridge show south bound traffic slowed almost to a complete stop.

Emergency workers said the man apparently drove a van to the bridge, stopped and then jumped over the railing with a line tied off to the van. Emergency workers said the man is wearing a harness and appears to have some kind of sign.

Emergency crews are gathering below the bridge in Tarrytown to assess the situation. A sign that can be seen hanging from the man's perch makes reference to the Rockland County Legislature and the Rockland County Executive's Office.

Authorities have not released any other details; it is unclear who the protester is, or what he is protesting.

Check back soon for more information.

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