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Statue of Liberty Climber Pleads Not Guilty After Immigration Protest

A woman climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July to protest migrant family separations

Danielle Germain

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Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44 was arrested on Wednesday after she climbed the Statue of Liberty, and began a three-hour standoff with police.

Her Reason: She wanted to protest the current U.S. immigration policy.

Okoumou, was a part of a group of protesters and had declared that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released.” The stunt led to the evacuation of the landmark on the Fourth of July holiday.

Okoumou, pleaded not guilty to trespassing, disorderly conduct and interfering with governmental administration. After receiving three misdemeanor charges, Magistrate Judge Ona Wang ordered Okoumou to be released from federal custody.

Outside the court, Okoumou thanked the U.S. Park Police and the New York City Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit, for their professionalism, and the kindness that they showed her.

“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,” Officer Brian Glacken said in a new conference Wednesday evening.

In her statement, she noted that the government’s “draconian policy” on immigration had to end. Okoumou’s attorney, Rhidaya Shodhan Trivedi, also added that they were going to keep fighting until family separation is a thing of the past.

“In a democracy we do not put children in cages,” Okoumou told reporters. “The judge told me not to do it again. But I think the message was sent.”

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Danielle Germain (she/her/hers) is originally from Long Island, New York. She is a rising junior at The American University, majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and minoring in Political Science. She partakes in various activities on campus. Danielle is a Teacher's Assistant, the Vice President of Programming for Caribbean Circle, The Social Media Director and Web Manager for The Blackprint, Programming Coordinator for Founder's Week Committee, Senior Communications Strategist for AUSG Center for Advocacy and Student Equity or CASE, Secretary of the Junior Class Council and a Club Consultant for American University Club Council. After learning more about herself freshman year, Danielle became deeply interested in pushing diversity and inclusion forward. Since then, Danielle has started The Purpose, a bible study for students of color at AU. By creating a safe space on campus, she hopes that the voices of those who feel underrepresented are heard and also valued. In her free time, Danielle enjoys going to brunch and watching Gossip Girl. This past summer, Danielle served as the Corporate Communications Intern for Macy's Inc. Danielle has a passion for politics and a love for writing, and one day hopes to become a political commentator for CNN. She can be reached at dg0060a@student.american.edu.

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