Two German artists swapped Old Glory for new white flags. A Russian tourist's jorts got a Jerry Bruckheimer close-up. Now 23-year-old Frenchman Yonathan Souid is the NYPD's new scapegoat for the limits of security in a free society. Souid was arrested yesterday afternoon for climbing the Brooklyn Bridge to take photographs, and Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson is throwing the book at him. "The defendant's foolish and unlawful conduct is a breach of security and a danger to himself and others," Thompson said in a statement. "This is not a game and we will be seeking jail time."
Souid, who was subjected to a perp walk last night, is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, and for a violating a city statute which prohibits "climbing, jumping or suspending oneself from structures prohibited," all misdemeanors. His bail has been set at $15,000 bond or $7,000 cash, and he has surrendered his passport.
NBC reports that Souid, who was staying in Brooklyn with friends and was booked on a 6:20 p.m. flight back to France, initially told police that he was taking pictures for a French news site, but lacked credentials.
"In this age of heightened terrorism, it's very important that we protect the security of the Brooklyn Bridge at all times and under all circumstances," Thompson told NBC. "This defendant blatantly compromised that security for his own selfish reasons and will now be prosecuted for his foolish and unlawful conduct."
How did Souid come to "compromise" the Bridge's security? By climbing over a fence that the NYPD and the DOT were supposed to heighten two months ago. The NYPD also stationed more police officers on the bridge, and installed cameras to watch the entry points.
"Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see those barriers become more difficult to compromise," NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller told reporters in late August.
Thwarting a multi-billion dollar counterterrorism apparatus is easier than nabbing a table for four on a Saturday night in the East Village, but OK, throw the French tourist in jail.