Video: The Freedom Tower BASE jump

Footage that’s simultaneously old and new. The jump happened six months ago but the clip didn’t hit YouTube until yesterday, when the responsible parties finally surrendered to the NYPD to face charges of burglary, reckless endangerment, and jumping from a structure. (“Burglary” in New York is broader than theft committed while inside a building unlawfully.) The cops have been looking for them since September. Partly that’s because the idea of strange men parachuting onto the streets of lower Manhattan with impunity is … problematic, and partly that’s because it’s a staggering security lapse for the city to have missed a bunch of guys sneaking undetected into the tower that replaced the World Trade Center. (According to one defendant, they simply stepped through a hole in the fence around the perimeter that was covered with a tarp.)

So, with nothing left to lose and maybe a little to gain, the BASErs finally put the clip online. Strategy:

The skydivers say that if the video becomes popular on YouTube and pulls in some money, they will donate the proceeds to a charity for families of 9/11 victims, Rossig’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, told The News.

“This was never intended to be a publicity stunt,” Parlatore added. “However, since the police department has turned it into something of a spectacle, the defendants are hoping the video can be used for some good.”

A little charity presumably means a little leniency from the judge. Before you know it, they’ll be back to work, jumping off the Statue of Liberty’s tiara or whatever. But, er, if this is about raising money, why put the clip on YouTube instead of selling the footage to someone? It feels more like a middle finger to the NYPD. I.e. “you may have caught us but you didn’t stop us.”

Anyway, evidently we’re now far enough removed from 9/11 that the idea of people jumping off a tower at Ground Zero for fun raises no hackles at the local tabloids. Here’s your mild content warning for profanity in the clip.