Statue Of Liberty Climber

Danny Owens

S.I. Woman Who Climbed Statue Of Liberty Faces Jail Time

July 05, 2018 - 9:47 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- A woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty's base and spurred the statue's evacuation on July Fourth is due in Federal Court today.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, of Staten Island, told police she was protesting the separation of immigrant children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

After two New York Police Department officers went up to the base and reached her, news helicopter video showed her and the officers moving carefully along the edge of the statue's robes toward a ladder police had set up.

She climbed down about 25 feet to the statue's observation point, with another officer descending ahead of her.

A group that organized a protest at the statue earlier Wednesday says she took part in unfurling a banner at the statue's pedestal calling for abolishing the federal government's chief immigration enforcement agency. But the group says no one else was aware she would climb the base.

At least six people were arrested in the banner demonstration.

The New York-based group, Rise and Resist, opposes President Donald Trump's administration and advocates ending deportations and family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We're going to ask for the charges to be dropped in the interest in justice," a spokesman for the group said.

He said Okoumou didn't damage the statue and the police officers who took her off of the statue had good equipment, and were not in danger.

Okoumou has been charged with one count of trespassing, one count of interference with agency functions, and one count of disorderly conduct. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison. She was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court on August 3.

The National Park Service decided to evacuate more than 4,000 visitors from Liberty Island on Wednesday ``out of an abundance of caution,'' said spokesman Jerry Willis. Average attendance for the Fourth of July is 20,000 to 25,000 people, he added.

The park service was reviewing security videotape to try to determine how the woman made the climb, Willis said. It also was taking a closer look at the statue to see if there was any damage, though that's unlikely, he said.
 
The copper-pounded skin is only the thickness of two pennies but ``it's strong,'' he said.
 
"That statue has been out in the middle of New York Harbor for 130 years _ with hurricanes and lightning and everything that nature has thrown at her,'' he said. ``She's survived quite well.''    The park service was reviewing security videotape to try to determine how the woman made the climb, Willis said. It also was taking a closer look at the statue to see if there was any damage, though that's unlikely, he said.

A lot of people were not happy with the stunt since they had to evacuate Liberty Island. "Our vacation was ruined," one woman told 1010 WINS' John Montone.

Okoumou was trending on Twitter Thursday.