Statue of Liberty Climber: What You Need to Know About Woman Who Scaled Monument on Fourth of July
Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, climbed onto the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in protest of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
A New York woman’s act of patriotism on the Fourth of July was to climb up the Statue of Liberty, refusing to come down until all migrant children are reunited with their families.
Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, of Staten Island, was taken into custody Wednesday evening after a three-hour standoff with the NYPD, authorities said.
Okoumou, who is reportedly an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, climbed onto the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty Wednesday in protest of the Trump administration’s "zero-tolerance" immigration policies.
"Our message was that ICE must be abolished, families must be reunited now, deportations must be halted, and the policy of detention as deterrent must end," New York-based advocacy group Rise and Resist said in a statement.
The situation began earlier in the day as several protesters dropped a sign that read “ABOLISH I.C.E.” from the top of the monument’s pedestal.
At about 3:15 p.m., the NYPD received a call about a woman who had climbed onto the base of Lady Liberty.
"At first, she wasn't friendly with us, but we took our time," Officer Brian Glacken of the NYPD said in a press conference. "She was just basically up there [talking] about the children in Texas."
Okoumou made the 20-foot climb from the public observation deck, the National Park Service said.
“It is a vertical climb and there’s not many foot holds or anything," Statue of Liberty spokesman Jerry Willis told "CBS This Morning." “She either had some good skills or dumb luck."
The climb was difficult enough that it took NYPD officers about three hours to reach her and get her down.
"Once we could safely get up, I explained to her, 'We want you to come down,'" Glacken said. "We want to get them down safely. We’ll take our time. We’re not in a rush."
Though Glacken said she resisted and was "a little combative" at first, NYPD officers were able to safely bring her down.
During the stand-off, visitors were evacuated from the island.
Okoumou, who was wearing a shirt that read "Trump Care Makes Us Sick" on one side at the time of arrest, is now facing federal misdemeanor charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.
She is expected to appear in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday.
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