Therese Okoumou is a Congo native, a political activist, a member of Rise and Resist and is the woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty in a political protest over the 4th of July. New York Police evacuated the island after her ascent. There were 8 other protesters present and a large banner with the words ‘Abolish ICE’ (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) hung down the concrete platform lady liberty is erected on.
Okoumou climbed the statue around 3:15 in the afternoon and cops from ESU Truck 1 in Manhattan were the first to respond. She sat on the sloped metal of the statue’s base. The stunt was televised around the world and lasted over 4 hours. Law enforcement officers main concern was that this would turn into some kind of terrorist attack. It ended peacefully.
Det. John McKenna, a 26-year veteran of the NYPD issued his account of the rescue:
“Our aviation unit was over the island first, they were able to give us a video link so we could actually see the protestor on the pedestal, so that gave us a heads up on what we were getting into. Already before we touch the island we had a plan in place.”
Upon arrival, officers set a ladder long enough to reach Okoumou against the side of the statue. “Our unit does this every day. We rescue people from elevated platforms almost daily. What makes this unique is that it is on a national landmark,” said NYPD Det. Robert Stosch who was present at the scene. During the rescue, officers said that Okoumou was blurting out her frustrations about immigration policies.
Trump quickly responded in his regular fashion:
“You saw that clown yesterday on the Statue of Liberty. You see that guys that went up there. I wouldn’t have done it. I would have said, ‘Let’s get some nets, and let’s wait till she comes down. Just get some nets.’”
Therese Okoumou spent the night in jail and was released without bail.
“While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceable protest, that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
The activist group Rise and Resist that Okoumou is a member publically disavowed her unlawful stunt.
Featured Image via Nation Park Service