Now the three daredevils are being taken to court by the New York Police Department for breaking the law. It doesn’t look like they’re going to let them off lightly either…
“Let them do some community service, so the authorities can go back to doing important things, like catching murderers”
Andrew Rossig, James Brady and Marco Markovich are being charged with felony burglary, reckless endangerment and BASE jumping. Yep, BASE jumping in Manhattan is an offence in itself.
The trio squeezed through a hole in the fence, climbed 104 flights of stairs before launching themselves off the WTC while filming the feat on camera. Once uploaded, the video immediately went viral.
The police are said to have found the jumpers by tracing the number plate on their getaway car. Now the trio and possibly their driver Kyle Hartwell are facing up to seven years in prison for the burglary offence alone!
If that seems pretty steep it’s possibly because NYPD are making an example of them.
Technically, BASE jumping is illegal in New York City (despite remaining legal in other places around the world).
And (as far as the NYPD are concerned) this high profile case probably looks like a perfect way to make a statement, showing they cannot condone random people launching themselves off buildings.
“The group may have broken the law as it stands, but they’re campaigning for it to be changed.”
Interestingly, the video was made on 30 September 2013, but the authorities didn’t arrest the men until 23 March 2014 – after the video was released and gained more than 200,000 views in under 24 hours.
This suggests that it’s the high-profile nature of the jump – as much as the jump itself – that has lead to the severe-seeming punishment.
But although the group may have broken the law as it stands, they’re arguing that the law is wrong and are campaigning for it to be changed.
They point out that they didn’t intend to be disrespectful or cause harm and they’re fighting for the legalisation of BASE jumping in the city
There’s a further complication though. The Police Commissioner is arguing that the jump was not only unlawful, but “a desecration of that site”, saying it conjured up memories of men jumping from the burning Twin Towers on September 11.
However some of the victims’ families have apparently stated publicly that the action has caused them no offence.
And of course, there’s the fact that in a city where the crime rate is still relatively high, prosecuting three BASE jumpers seems like a bit of a waste of time and taxpayer’s money.
As Tim Parlatore, Rossig’s lawyer, told the New York Daily News: “Let [them] do some community service and give back the time that’s been wasted. Everyone can go back to their lives — and [the authorities] can go back to doing things that are more important, like catching murderers.”
What do you think? Are the authorities being unreasonably harsh here? Or should the law be upheld?