The Russian tourist who decided to climb the Brooklyn Bridge, all the way up to the tower on the Brooklyn side, was in court Sunday to face charges. A prosecutor said, "The defendant stated in sum and substance that he did it for fun."
Well, the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio aren't having any fun. In fact, after the July 22 incident where German artists took the American flags off both Brooklyn Bridge towers and swapped them out with white flags, Police Commissioner Bratton was upset that the security breach occurred and promised that patrols would be stepped up.
The climber, Yaroslav Kolchin, 24, was part of a tour group from Russia. His lawyer said that he had recently graduated from a university there and worked in advertising. From the NY Times:
Mayor de Blasio said Mr. Kolchin had entered the bridge on the public walkway that runs down its center, but then made his way past a security gate and onto a cable, which is off limits to the public but has guide wires for bridge workers.
The police sergeant who spotted him called in helicopters, police boats and emergency service officers. Mr. Kolchin made it to the tower’s platform, walked back and forth and took several photos with his iPhone, as a crowd gathered below, the police said. Then, with a helicopter next to him, he walked back down the cable toward Brooklyn and was arrested.
However, he did not post those photographs to his social media yet—where's the fun in that?!
Yesterday, de Blasio said, "We are in the process of making changes in the way we approach the bridges that are our responsibility. This individual should have known better, it's quite obvious this was not a place for an individual citizen to go." He added, "You can hold me accountable and Commissioner (William) Bratton accountable.” Still, de Blasio pointed out that the police response was fast.
Kolchin, who was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass, was required to turn in his Russian passport and was held on $5000 bail. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kolchin's lawyer said he has been staying at the Globetrotters Hotel in Bed-Stuy and wanted to cooperate: "The judge...said the defendant could potentially get a new passport at the Russian consulate and set bail at $5,000 cash or bond. But, in a nod to Mr. Kolchin’s circumstances, he also urged the district attorney’s office to press ahead with the case swiftly. 'You should have some kind of offer for him this Friday; this is not a complicated case,' the judge said."