Protester in custody after dangling off Tappan Zee Bridge

State police took a former Rockland County employee who was dangling from the Tappan Zee Bridge earlier today into custody.

The incident unfolded after police say Michael Davitt parked his van on the bridge, dropped his protest sign and rope ladder over the bridge and climbed down, bringing with him cigarettes and a thermos.

The protest sign carried messages against County Executive Scott Vanderhoef (R-Rockland) and the county Legislature.

Police closed part of the bridge while they determined how to rescue him. In the end, state police flew their special response team from Albany in a helicopter that landed on the bridge deck.

They tried lowering Davitt into boats waiting in the Hudson River, but just before entering the boats, he jumped from his harness and started swimming away. Police quickly took him into custody and transported him to the Tarrytown Marina.

Ron Levine, a spokesman for the office of Rockland County Executive Vanderhoef, says Davitt was a former substance abuse counselor for the county, but was let go in 2008.

Davitt has been protesting outside of the Rockland County Office Building in New City with a sign that read "Indict Vanderhoef."

Sheriff James Kralik says Davitt was "resentful" over losing his position. Kralick adds his department has been "carefully watching" Davitt during his protests, but that he has not been charged with any crimes.

State police say the Davitt will be charged in the bridge protest, but what he will be charged with is yet to be determined.

Davitt is currently being held at the Westchester County Medical Center undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

For extended Chopper 12 footage of Davitt dangling from the bridge, go to Channel 612 on your iO Digital cable box and select iO Extra.

Tappan Zee Bridge rescuers recount plans to save protesterVanderhoef: Tappan Zee protester had rocky employment historyNeighbors of alleged Tappan Zee dangler shocked by protest

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