“The Mad Dangler,” Michael Davitt of West Haverstraw, said in Greenburgh Town Court in Westchester County that he will not provide $33,818 in restitution to the public for the rescue expenses related to the dangling stunt he pulled above the Hudson River this past November. The Westchester DA had offered him a plea deal under those conditions.
Back in November Davitt had tied himself to a homemade harness and lowered himself above the river to protest being fired, some would say ironically, from the county’s Mental Health Department in 2008. He had been employed as a drug abuse counselor.
Davitt told the Greenburgh court that he did not need to be rescued and offered to prove it by swimming across the Hudson River on his 55th birthday in August. Davitt did not account for the fact that the water is quite warm in August, not so much in November.
Davitt indicated he was justified in his stunt because he was alerting the public to the tyranny of local governments and said he was owed $500,000 by Rockland County for his dismissal. He vaguely warned he may pull another stunt.
Since his dangling act, Davitt’s wife has left him. Following the November incident, Davitt had expressed contrition, but it seems time has erased that sentiment.