Michael Davitt, who staged a daring direct action protest on the Tappan Zee Bridge Monday, spoke to reporters yesterday outside his Rockland County home, where he tried to explain the motivation for his demonstration. Davitt had been employed by the county for 27 years, working as a mental-health aide before becoming a substance abuse counselor in 2000. But he was suspended in 2008, and ever since he's dedicated his life to exposing the corruption that he claims cost him his job. Here he is talking to CBS 2:

"I’ve done virtually everything I can do legally, and, like I said, the retaliation continues," Davitt tells CBS 2. “I’m not a piece of crap. I’m an American citizen, I’m a veteran, and I was just trying to stand up for my rights. I may be depressed, but it’s an outcropping of all the retaliation. I love life, I was not suicidal… I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t feel like I had a choice." Here's his interview:

Davitt, a recovering addict, has become a regular fixture at Rockland County legislature meetings, where he's known for staging one-man protests in an attempt to get his job back. It's unclear why Davitt was terminated; a spokesman for Rockland would not elaborate on the reasons for his dismissal, but Davitt tells LoHud.com that he "provided a psychiatrist who said he was fit to return to his job as a substance abuse counselor for the Rockland Department of Mental Health." But he was fired nonetheless.

He's facing a long list of criminal charges but says he only has one regret: that his banner wasn't weighted properly, obscuring the bottom half of his message. "It has all my case numbers on it. I regret that wasn't picked up, because I really want people to check out the veracity of my case." And his initial plan was to jump in the river and swim to the Westchester side, where he’s been in touch with the District Attorney and other officials about his case. Instead, he was fished out of the chilly Hudson River and arrested.