NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Michael Davitt was desperate.

Davitt tried today to explain his rationale for sitting on top of a large sign he lowered over the side of the Tappan Zee Bridge Monday.

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The sign read “Rockland Executive Legislature Coverup Retaliation” on half of it. The other half of the sign wasn’t properly weighted, Davitt told CBS2’s Lou Young, causing it to flap in the breeze. It turns out it contained case numbers of legal filings, Davitt said.

Davitt claims he was wrongly terminated from his position as a substance abuse counselor at the county’s mental health office. He says he “started to express myself” about his firing at county hearings, but got no satisfaction.

Yesterday, Rockland County spokesman Ronald Levine said Davitt “ranted regularly” at county legislative sessions.

“I’ve done virtually everything I can do legally, and, like I said, the retaliation continues,” Davitt said. “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,” Davitt said.

“I may be depressed, but it’s an outcropping of all the retaliation,” Davitt said. “I love life, I was not suicidal… I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t feel like I had a choice.”

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Davitt says he served in the Navy as a Bosun’s Mate, and learned about knots and rope strength there. He’s also a strong swimmer. Davitt told Young that when he jumped into the water, he tried to swim toward Westchester, not Rockland, which is where he’s been in touch with the District Attorney and other officials about his case.

“Maybe I’m a kid, I was raised on Superman, truth, justice and the American way and all that,” Davitt said. “I need a lawyer, I need a good employment lawyer.”

Speaking of that, Davitt told Young he wished he’d pulled the stunt earlier in the year, when the water was warmer.

Davitt has been charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and other crimes. He is out on $500 bail.

Davitt will be arraigned Nov. 17.

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