Council Introduced Bill: Harsher Penalties for city base-jumpers/climbers
The New York City Council on Thursday unveiled bill No.721 which would make things difficult for death-defying climbers who scale New York City’s skyscrapers. The Bill would make it illegal to scale or jump from a building 25 feet or taller.
These skyscraper climbers used to receive handshakes on the roof of New York City Skyscrapers, are receiving hand-wringing in the past few weeks, after two men climbed to the top of the New York Times Building with no ropes or safety nets.
These climbers used to receive mild punishments under the current New York City laws, which prompted the Council to introduce tougher bills aimed directly at those who scale or jump from high-rise buildings.
The maximum punishment meted out in illegal climbing or jumping is 15 days in jail along with a fine. However, two weeks ago, criminal charges were dropped against one of the Times Building climbers, Alain Robert. He was charged with lighter sentence of disorderly conduct.
Peter J. Vallone, chairman of the Council’s Committee, said that he does not want New York City to become Disneyland for base jumpers or climbers.
His new introduced bill would slap a year imprisonment and a fine of $1000 on base jumpers or climbers who endanger lives of others by their adventurous feats.
However the lawyer for Mr.Robert, Daniel N.Arshack, said the bill was misguided because professional base jumpers or climbers have never injured anyone in the past.
The second climber, Renaldo Clarke’s lawyer, Gary A. Farrell said his client’s case hadn’t been taken to the Jury.
The Deputy Chief in the New York City Police Department testified that each climbing incident triggers a major police response, and thus diverting their attention from normal patrols. On June 5, when Mr. Robert and Mr. Clarke climbed the Times Building in New York ( one-hour apart), 35 police officers were deployed to seal the sidewalks and to retrieve the two climbers from the Times Building.
However, the spokeswoman for The New York Times Company, Catherine J.Mathis, refused to comment on the proposed Council Bill.