A leftist protester ruined Independence Day for thousands who were visiting the Statue of Liberty. A Congolese woman decided to scale the monument in protest of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. At a press conference yesterday, she said she was inspired by Michelle Obama making a quote. “Michelle Obama … said when they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could,” Statue of Liberty climber Therese Patricia Okoumou told reporters outside Manhattan Federal Courthouse Thursday. Honey, that’s not what she meant. Sigh. And I’m torn whether to be more disgusted by Michelle’s original comment or the antics of this protester. She said her decision was spur of the moment.
Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, of Staten Island, pleaded not guilty to the charges during a brief hearing in federal court in Manhattan. At the end of the proceeding, she raised her right fist, drawing applause from supporters in the courtroom. She came from the Republic of Congo to the United States in 1994. Her stunt was shown on live TV and lasted about three and a half hours.
Our intrepid activist Okoumou has quite the history as well. According to court records, she’s a Congolese immigrant who once filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, seeking a judicial review and reversal of a “determination” it made regarding alleged incidents of abuse that Okoumou suffered at the hands of a social services agency on Staten Island where she worked.
From the New York Post:
“Specifically, Okoumou claimed that in 2005, she was treated “in a demeaning manner” by her bosses and told that she would be fired “for complaining of discrimination.” It’s unclear why her complaint was tossed out.
“In 2011, Okoumou made headlines after she was hit with an astounding 60 violations for illegally posting ads for her services as a personal trainer.
“The Department of Sanitation slapped her with $4,500 in fines that year after she spent five hours one Sunday posting the fliers on Manhattan utility poles.
“In 2017, she was arrested and charged with obstructing governmental administration, unlawful assembly and trespassing during a demonstration at the Department of Labor building on Varick Street. She had allegedly covered her mouth with tape and refused to respond to police demands.”
For her efforts in scaling the Statue of Liberty, she pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct Thursday before a judge released her on her own recognizance. She should not have gotten off so easy. I believe four or more helicopters were called in at great expense. Police officers risked their lives to get this person down. They used rope ladders etc. to do it. When she emerged from the courthouse, Okoumou of course took the opportunity to slam President Trump on immigration. “Trump has ripped this country apart. It is depressing. It is outrageous,” she said. “His Draconian zero-tolerance policy on immigration has to go.” It is sheer leftist pablum.
The left naturally hailed this as a brave act of resistance. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors said that her stunt “endangered” her life and the lives of others. Which it did. At the very least she should have to foot the bill for this insanity. “(This) alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the NYPD officers who responded to the scene,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. “While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceably protest, that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk.” I respectfully submit that she doesn’t care.
NYPD Detective Brian Glacken was blunt about the encounter. Okoumou was initially hostile towards the officers trying to rescue her, threatening to kick down the ladder they were standing on. Personally, I think they should have just left her up there. “She basically threatened to push us off, push the ladder off. But we were persistent, stayed up there,” Glacken told reporters. Tell me again why she was let out? “Then we kind of got her to calm down,” he said. “We told her, ‘We’re just looking to get you down safely.’” She then became cooperative, he said.
The communist activist group Rise and Resist released a statement in part concerning Okoumou’s climb, stating that her decision to scale the statue was her own and not representative of the group: “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.” What they don’t tell you is she organized their protest.
Earlier, the authorities detained seven other members of Rise and Resist, who hung a banner that called for the abolition of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They were each given a summons and escorted off the island, according to Sgt. David Somma, a spokesman for the United States Park Police’s New York field office.
Okoumou is a dedicated activist with the group. Members described her on social media as a “total badass.” “She’s very dedicated to the resistance generally, but specifically to the issues surrounding immigration and the treatment immigrants have been receiving from ICE and Customs and Border Control,” explained Jay Walker, a Rise and Resist activist. “She’s been an active member for about four or five months.”
She’s due back in court on August 3rd. If she’s convicted, she faces up to a year in jail. That’s the least this woman should get for all of this nonsense.