Police apprehend Statue of Liberty climber after long standoff

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Woman apprehended after climbing Statue of Liberty
Woman apprehended after climbing Statue of LibertyJim Dolan has more on an hours-long standoff at the Statue of Liberty.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- After more than two hours, police apprehended a woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty.

U.S. Parks Police evacuated Liberty Island after the woman, identified as Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44 of Staten Island, climbed to the base of the statue.

WATCH: See the moment NYPD officers apprehended the Statue of Liberty climber:

See the moment the NYPD apprehended the Statue of Liberty climber.

Reports of a person scaling the statue started came in around 3 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after a protest group calling itself Rise and Resist dropped a banner that read "Abolish ICE" from the base of the statue.

Officers responded to the scene with a helicopter and eventually moved their way up the statue near where Okoumou was located. At first, she put up a struggle with police officers.

Okoumou moved around occasionally and waved a t-shirt at times. At other times she was seen lying on her stomach and kicking her feet up behind her. She was holding a t-shirt that says 'Rise and Resist' and 'Trump Care Makes Us Sick.'

Officers engaged in conversation with Okoumou to try to talk her down.

NYPD Detective Brian Glacken said she was talking about the children in Texas. At first, he says Okoumou was not friendly with them, but they got a dialogue going with her so she could trust the officers.

"The turning point was once we could safely go up. You know, I explained to her that we want you to come down that would be the best way. I think the turning point was we had a good rapport with her. And when we got her she couldn't go any further and I think she realized that her time was up up there," said Detective Glacken.

During the time of the standoff, visitors were taken off the island via ferry.

"We've had two unusual events occur back-to-back," National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis told Eyewitness News. "So for the safety and security of our visitors, we decided to evacuate for the day."

"It's our busiest week of the year, historically," Willis continued. "The island at this time of the day is mostly near capacity, at 4,000 to 4,500 people. All boats have been tasked with moving people off the island. We have an evacuation plan. Given the heat of the day, the visitors complied with no issues."

Okoumou will appear in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.

She is expected to be charged with national park regulations or public use limit; trespassing; disorderly conduct, and interfering with government functions. All are federal misdemeanors.

Rise and Resist released a statement Wedesday night, saying in part,

"The person who climbed the Statue of Liberty was one of forty participants in our planned banner action, but her decision to climb the statue was made independently of the group, without consulting any other member of the group. We understand and share her desire to see the immediate release of children from detention and reunion with their parents. We hope that her legal representation will arrange for her release under her own recognizance."


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