A French tourist who allegedly climbed the Brooklyn Bridge to take photos over the weekend could face jail time, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said Monday, as the latest in a series of bridge climbers appeared in court.
Yonathan Souid, 23, allegedly climbed a beam across several traffic lanes to take pictures of the scenic skyline from about 100 feet above the street below, police said. Souid was still near the Brooklyn side of the bridge when he was arrested at about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to the criminal complaint.
He allegedly crossed over a small fence before making the perilous journey over the speeding cars, police said.
“This defendant’s foolish and unlawful conduct is a breach of security and a danger to himself and others,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement. “It will not be tolerated. This is not a game and we will be seeking jail time.”
Souid was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, and a violation of an administrative code, which prohibits climbing, jumping or suspending oneself from structures, according to the Brooklyn DA’s office.
He was held on $15,000 bond at his arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court Monday.
His attorney, James Medows, said Souid didn’t intend to scare anyone with his actions and is “truly apologetic” if he did.
Police said he arrived in New York on Nov. 6 and was scheduled to fly out on Sunday evening. He was visiting friends in Brooklyn during his trip.
“He was just capturing some photos before he went home,” Medows said. “We live in the greatest city in the world with the greatest views and my client was just trying to capture some of those views before he went home.”
Medows said Souid did not know about the previous incidents in which people climbed the bridge.
Souid, who speaks broken English, was able to post bail thanks to a man who gave him the money, Medows said.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 9.
This the latest in a series of recent controversies leading to questions over the security at one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
In August, a 24-year-old Russian tourist was charged with climbing the bridge to take photos with his iPhone, allegedly scaling the cable beam and walking back and forth on the landing, police have said.
A day later, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he and Police Commissioner William Bratton were making security changes to city-controlled bridges. Bratton said he was doing a “full scale review” of all security policies.
In July, the American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge’s tower were replaced with white flags. A pair of German artists claimed responsibility for the stunt, saying they wanted to honor the bridge’s German engineer.
Several politicians have voiced concern over the frequency with which people have been climbing this vital structure.
Last month, Sen. Charles Schumer proposed increasing the penalty for people caught trespassing on monuments and critical infrastructure in the city and throughout the country.
The bill would increase the penalty for trespassing with the intent to commit a crime to a maximum of five years in prison. Currently, the city” trespassing law has a maximum of one year in prison.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said he will help introduce state legislation Tuesday to raise the penalties of trespassing high-profile structures. Details on the legislation were not immediately available.