A protester was arrested on the 4th of July following a standoff with police after she scaled up the base of the Statue of Liberty in protest of migrant children being separated from their guardians and/or parents.
The woman, identified by CNN as Therese Patricia Okoumou, stayed there for almost three hours as she walked across the base of the statue, at times sitting down in the folds of Lady Liberty’s dress or under her sandal, as authorities tried to encourage her to come down.
Okoumou had apparently said that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released,” a source with the NYPD told the network.
In the end, about 16 hours from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit, who are trained to execute some of the most dangerous rescues in the city, worked to bring Okoumou down and take her into custody.
“At first, she wasn’t friendly with us, but we took the time to get a rapport with her so that took a while,” Officer Brian Glacken said in a news conference on Wednesday evening. “She just kind of mentioned the kids in Texas. I guess the whole debate that’s going on about that. In the beginning, she threatened to push us off, push the ladder off, but we stayed with her.”
Officers outfitted with ropes and climbing gear were finally able to reach her, however.
“At first she was being a little combative, then she was willing to cooperate with us. She actually apologized to us for having to go up and get her,” Glacken told reporters.
Okoumou was put in a harness and ropes and assisted down as she crossed to the other side of the statue where officers were waiting with a ladder.
According to CNN, Okoumou is associated with Rise and Resist, however, organizer Martin Joseph Quinn told CNN that the climb was not part of a planned protest.
“She climbed without our knowledge. It was not part of our action,” Quinn said.
Nonetheless, the group said that they will support Okomouo and are “working to secure the best legal representation” for her.
Okoumou was in federal custody as of Wednesday evening. Park police have recommended charges to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, with possible charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with government functions.
Seven other protesters were also arrested on Wednesday, with police saying that they believe they assisted Okoumou in reaching the base of the statue.