Guess What: Woman Who Climbed Statue of Liberty Has Criminal Record
The Congolese woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty as part of a protest against Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a criminal history, including attacking a police officer, and attends at least one anti-Trump protest a week, the New York Daily News reported.
Patricia Okoumou, 44, has lived in New York City for the past ten years but was educated in her home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
She made the news on Wednesday when she scaled the statue — or, well, at least up to the base of it — and unfurled a flag that said “Abolish ICE.” She was quickly taken into custody and charged with trespassing, interfering with agency functions and disorderly conduct. Each charge carries the possibility of prison time.
Woman who scaled base of Statue of Liberty charged with trespassing, interference with agency functions and disorderly conduct. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a fine. https://t.co/HEA3a3ncq6 pic.twitter.com/YaJxQl2XOj
— ABC News (@ABC) July 5, 2018
So, who is Okoumou? Well, first of all, she’s a member of “Rise and Resist,” a Greenwich Village-based group which describes itself as “a direct action group committed to opposing, disrupting and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality and our civil liberties.”
“She’s been an active member of Rise and Resist for four or five months,” group member Jay Walker said, adding she’s been involved in about one anti-Trump protest a week. “She’s participated in quite a few of our actions.”
“No one in the group knew this was going to happen,” Walker added. “We don’t know if she did it on the spur of the moment or if she had been planning it beforehand.”
Okoumou also says that she was inspired by Michelle 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 outside of a Manhattan federal courtroom after being charged, according to Fox News.
Apparently, she didn’t get very high, considering she didn’t make it past the base. The same applies to the Democrats, too, though, so we can’t fault her too significantly.
Oh, and this isn’t her first run-in with the law, either.
“In August 2017, she was arrested for trespassing, obstruction of government administration and misdemeanor assault during a demonstration against the state Department of Labor on Varick Street,” the Daily News reported.
“Okoumou, who carried a protest placard, had covered her mouth with tape and refused police demands that she leave the building. She refused to enter an ambulance by lying on the ground, kicking her feet and flailing her arms, according to police. She was charged with misdemeanor assault after one of the cops was hit during her flailing, authorities said.”
Her court history isn’t limited to hitting cops, either.
“In 2003, she filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit, charging racial discrimination after being fired from a job as a staffer at a battered women’s home called Safe Horizons,” the Daily News reported. “Okoumou’s boss complained that she was rude to other staffers and clients at the shelter, according to court records. Her lawyer eventually withdrew from the case and she represented herself, unsuccessfully for the remainder of the case.”
While “(s)he won $1,500 in a 2009 racial discrimination lawsuit against a Staten Island towing company, County Recovery,” she also “unsuccessfully filed a human rights complaint in 2007 against a group home in Staten Island for racial discrimination.”
In short, Ms. Okoumou is gaining frequent flier miles in the New York judicial system. My guess is that with this trial, she’s going to be able to get lifetime upgrades into the first-class courtroom.
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