Residents of Morton Street in West Haverstraw were shocked to learn their neighbor suspended himself from the Tappan Zee Bridge in an hours long protest Monday. Next-door neighbor Jackie DiNuzzo said she got a call at work alerting her to the incident. Jamal White, who lives across the street, said he heard about the protest but did not initially realize it was Davitt.
Both neighbors on the block of single-family homes said they had not heard complaints from Davitt about Rockland County government or the job he lost. No one answered the door at Davitt's home.
“He’s lived every day like nothing happened,” said White. “He seemed like a normal guy.”
White and DiNuzzo said they would see their neighbor of about 15 years doing yard work. The neighbors said DiNuzzo and his wife have two adult children, who they did not think they were living at home.
White said he would often see Davitt in the mornings when he left for work.
Davitt was frequently seen picketing in front of the county office building and protesting about County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef with a sign “Indict Vanderhoef.” He complained at county legislative meetings about the treatment he received from Rockland.
Davitt worked for the county’s Department of Mental Health in Pomona from 1991 to 2008. He was employed as a substance abuse counselor. According to the county executive’s office, “He 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.”
Davitt suspended himself from the Tappan Zee Bridge on a rope ladder and displayed a blue and yellow banner reading “Rockland Executive Legislative Coverup Retaliation.” After three hours, police began lowering Davitt from the bridge, when he jumped into the Hudson River. He was rescued by emergency workers and taken into custody.