View Full Version : Just send her back to the CONGO! - Okoumou blows kisses in court

The Bobster
07-05-2018, 12:15 PM

Statue of Liberty climber identified as immigrant activist
By Larry Celona, Tina Moore and Chris Perez
July 4, 2018 | 10:38pm | Updated

Therese Patricia Okoumou
Gabriella Bass

The woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday has been identified.

Cops say Therese Patricia Okoumou — a 44-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo — was the person responsible for the Fourth of July protest.

She lives in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island and is currently in federal custody, according to police sources.

Officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit transported her to a federal detention center Wednesday night following her three-hour standoff with authorities. Her case is being handled by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Sources said Okoumou told investigators she climbed up to the feet of Lady Liberty to protest President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration and the separation of families at the border.

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.

Specifically, Okoumou claimed that in 2005, she was treated “in a demeaning manner” by her bosses :rolleyes: and told that she would be fired “for complaining of discrimination.” :rolleyes: It’s unclear why her complaint was tossed out. :p

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.

On Wednesday, Okoumou told investigators she was part of a group protest organized by Rise and Resist NYC. The activists unfurled a banner on Liberty Island less than an hour before her climb that read: “ABOLISH ICE.”

Organizers initially tried to distance themselves from Okoumou’s Statue of Liberty stunt — saying she had “no connection” with their cause — but later admitted that she was part of the group.

Members described her on social media as a “total bad ass.”

“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.”

Walker told The Post that Okoumou helped plan the banner demonstration, but carried out the Statue of Liberty stunt on her own. :rolleyes:

“She didn’t tell any of us about this plan,” he said. “We were all really shocked.” :rolleyes:

The group had announced their Fourth of July stunt on social media moments before carrying it out Wednesday, but made no mention of the climb.

“We were all really taken back,” Walker said. “At first, we didn’t realize it was our fellow member. It wasn’t until we were able to see closeup photos of her that we realized it was her.” :rolleyes:

According to Walker, Rise and Resist has been working to ensure that Okoumou gets legal representation now that she’s in federal custody. He told The Post that she managed to make it up to the feet of Lady Liberty all on her own — without ropes or climbing gear.

“We came through all the security protocols that we needed to when getting onto the Liberty Island ferry,” Walker said, noting how Okoumou made it through the metal detectors.

“I guess she just had some hidden climbing skills that none of us knew about.”

The Bobster
07-06-2018, 10:25 AM

Activist who climbed Statue of Liberty not sorry for forcing evacuation
By Kaja Whitehouse
July 5, 2018 | 7:01pm | Updated

She’s not sorry for stealing Liberty.

The Staten Island woman who scaled the Statue of Liberty on July 4 — putting emergency responders at risk and forcing tourists and New Yorkers off the icon on one of its busiest days — showed no remorse Thursday as the feds hit her with criminal charges.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, who had to be saved by specially trained NYPD officers as she straddled the right foot of Lady Liberty, said she made the climb to protest President Trump’s “draconian zero tolerance policy on immigration,” including the now-barred practice of separating children from their parents.

But she showed no regret for stomping all over the Independence Day of hundreds of Liberty Island visitors, saying the only reason she would not do it again is because a federal magistrate judge ordered her not to.

“But I think the message was sent: No child belongs in a cage,” she said outside of court. :mad:

Okoumou, a naturalized citizen from the Republic of Congo, made the statements outside the Manhattan federal courthouse where she was charged with trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct.

She faces up to one year and six months in prison if convicted of the misdemeanor charges.

Okoumou pleaded not guilty at a court hearing where she was treated like a rock star by a courtroom packed with supporters wearing pro-immigration T-shirts who crowded the courtroom. :mad:

Okoumou blew kisses and waved to the crowd, prompting a man to shout, “We love you!” while other attendees hooted and hollered.

The love fest continued outside as Okoumou quoted former first lady Michelle Obama while wearing a T-shirt that read: “White Supremacy is Terrorism.”

It was the same long-sleeved shirt she wore in court, but it had been turned inside-out at the recommendation of her lawyer.

“Michele Obama, our beloved first lady that I care so much about, said when they go low, we go high. And I went as high as I could,” Okoumou said to applause and laughter. :mad:

She remained silent, however, when asked about the people who “saved their money” to visit the symbol of freedom on the Fourth of July and were denied entry because of her stunt.

“Hopefully they know that there are people out there like Patricia … trying to protect their civil liberties, which I would have faith that they treasure more than a trip to the Statue of Liberty,” her lawyer, Rhiya Trivedi, said.

The crowd booed the person who asked the question. :mad:

Prosecutors said they brought the charges because Okoumou’s protest caused the popular tourist destination to be evacuated and posed “substantial danger to NYPD officers who were required to retrieve her” following a four-hour standoff.

Emergency Service Unit Detective Brian Glacken said Okoumou initially threatened to push them off the 150-foot perch before allowing them to retrieve her.

“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,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in announcing the charges.

The Bobster
07-06-2018, 10:35 AM

Woman who climbed Statue of Liberty blows kisses in court
By Kaja Whitehouse
July 5, 2018 | 4:19pm | Updated

The jungle ape arrested for climbing the Statue of Liberty in protest of President Trump​’s immigration policies blew kisses and waved at a courtroom packed with supporters after she was released by a Manhattan federal judge on Thursday. :mad:

Therese Okoumou was treated like a rock star by people wearing pro-immigration T-shirts who attended her arraignment on misdemeanor charges for climbing the icon of freedom.

After she was released without bail :mad:, the crowd gave her a standing ovation and one man screamed​,​ “We love you!” while other attendees hooted.

It was an unusual end to an otherwise stodgy hearing in which Okoumou, 44, pleaded not guilty :rolleyes: to three misdemeanor counts, including trespassing and disorderly conduct.

She faces up to a year and six months if convicted.

The Staten Island resident was arrested slightly after 7 p.m. on the Fourth of July after climbing to the base of Lady Liberty and resisting orders to come down​ as she straddled ​the statue’s right foot.​

She was waving a protest T-shirt reading “Trump Care Makes Us Sick” that was taken by US Marshals after she was turned over to them by park police, her lawyer said.

On Wednesday, Okoumou told investigators she was part of a group protest organized by Rise and Resist NYC to protest Trump’s immigration policies.

The activists unfurled a banner on Liberty Island less than an hour before her climb that read: “ABOLISH ICE.”

“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,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.