The police are looking for the culprits who replaced the American flags that fly over the Brooklyn Bridge with bleached white flags. This wasn't the work of kids pulling a prank, as scaling that bridge to get to the flags took climbing skills, NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said to the media, according to US News on July 23.
Authorities do not only want to find the people responsible for this, but they also want to know the meaning behind the white flags flying in place of the American flags. Someone went through a lot of trouble to do this, so the meaning behind this deed is just as important. Is it a message or is it someone's idea of an art project, this is what the police are probing into today.
This is a "serious security breach" and scaling the 275-foot-tall bridge was "no easy feat," according to US News. The white flags are an international symbol for surrender, is this the message being conveyed over the Brooklyn Bridge? The people who did this have expert skills in climbing, officials suggest that they may previously have worked construction at heights.
The Brooklyn Bridge is closely monitored by law enforcement as it is seen as a prime target for acts of terrorism. NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said the department is looking into whether it needs to increase the security monitoring by assigning more patrols to the bridge and add to the number of cameras on the bridge.
According to ABC News today, police are looking through the surveillance video for any clues leading them in the direction of the perpetrators of this event. The timeline of this event was documented on the video tape, which showed this wasn't something they were able to do quickly.
The security video of the bridge showed a group of five people walk onto the bridge at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday. It was about a half an hour later that the floodlights that illuminate the flags went dark. The tall gates remained locked so the people who did this had to be extremely "agile," according to Miller.
Upon inspection, police found aluminum cooking pans that were rectangle and the perfect size to fit over the area of the flood lights, blocking their light. These were left at the scene along with zip ties that were believed used to secure the baking pans over the lights.
Blocking out the lights let the culprits do their deed going undetected in the night sky high over the Brooklyn Bridge. It took about 30 minutes for the person to get to the top of the bridge. From the time the people were detected on the bridge to the time the lights were darkened was a time span of 30 minutes indicating that is how long the climb took.
The surveillance video tape showed a 13-minute gap between the tower lights going out at 3:30 a.m. and the white flags going up. This indicates that it took the culprits about 45 minutes to climb to the top of bridge and replace the American flags with the bleached white flags.
Miller, who also oversees intelligence and counter terrorism, reported that the two flags have been taken in for testing. Miller was clear about authorities believing that this event is not connected to terrorism.
"At this time, there is no sign of any particular nexus to terrorism or even politics. It could be someone's art project or a statement, but it's not clear what that statement is."
Construction workers were the first to notice the white flags flying over the Brooklyn Bridge at about 5:30 a.m. and notified police. It was around 11 a.m. when a team began the climb to replace the flags, following a police investigation. Traditional American flags were flying by 3 p.m.