Woman in custody after climbing Statue of Liberty on July 4th, police say

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NEW YORK — A woman who climbed  the Statue of Liberty has been taken into custody after an hours long standoff, police said.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, scaled the base of the statue around 3:30 p.m. and was taken into police custody about three hours later. While on the statue, she lay by the bottom edge of the statue’s robe, walked around and sat perched against the statue. Officers climbed ladders and attempted to talk her down.

Eventually, they slipped on harnesses, joined the woman on the statue base and took her into custody.

Rescuers involved said the woman was upset about children taken from their families at the border. She was initially combative, but police were later able to build a rapport with the woman.

The woman apologized to the officers who had to come up to get her, police said.

She was hit with federal charges for trespassing, disorderly conduct, interference with government functions and violating Park Service regulations.

United States Park Police and the NYPD were both on the scene for the rescue.

“NYC will be fine and the NYPD can handle anything, but our first responders certainly don’t need this tonight. Please get down, ma’am,” a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said about the issue.

People on their way to Liberty Island were not being allowed to continue to the park and people already there were evacuated, according to tweets.

An NYPD helicopter was on the scene.

Protesters with Rise and Resist New York had unfurled an “Abolish ICE” banner at the statue earlier Wednesday. The woman was with the group, but members of the group  said that the woman’s decision to climb the statue was not associated with the protest. They added that they did not know she planned to climb the statue.

National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says at least six people were taken into custody at the earlier protest. He says federal regulations prohibit hanging banners from the monument.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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