Borough President Adams, above, said that, far from being a harmless prank, Tuesday’s Brooklyn-Bridge-flag incident was an act of terrorism.
The Brooklyn pol held a press conference early on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after police pulled down the white flags that briefly replaced the stars and stripes atop the iconic span’s two towers. Adams offered a $5,000 reward that he claimed would come out of his own pocket for information leading to the capture of the person or people responsible for the switcheroo, and emphasized that the stunt sowed fear in the hearts of Brooklynites.
“This was a terrorist act,” Adams said. “Anytime you bring about terror, it’s a terrorist act.”
Adams explained that motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the bridge could well have been freaked out by the surrender flags, though he did not speculate about what political aims they may have been meant to achieve.
Adams encouraged the culprit or culprits to give themselves up.
“The only thing or person that should be surrendering at this time is the person responsible for the desecration of these flags,” he said.
NYPD brass pooh-poohed the notion of a terror connection.
The pranksters responsible could face charges of criminal trespassing, reckless endangerment — for endangering themselves — malicious mischief, and theft of city property — for stealing the original flags — NYPD deputy commissioner of counter-terrorism John Miller said.
Overhead footage from the website EarthCam shows the lights illuminating the bridge flags going dark at 3:42 am.
The bridge was considered for a target of an actual terror attack in 2002, when an American named Iyman Faris researched cutting its cables for Al Qaeda. Former police chief Ray Kelly boasted in 2011 that security measures, including police cars at either end, security cameras trained on its nooks and crannies, and a police boat in the East River, deterred Faris.
But a Department of Justice press release indicates that he also couldn’t lay his hands on the necessary gas cutters and that the bridge’s design made such an attempt unlikely to topple it.
All maintenance workers’ trips up the bridge’s cables are supposed to be cleared with the police department’s intelligence division, according to Kelly.
— with Max Jaeger