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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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Donovan Sends Letter to Department of the Interior on Statue of Liberty Protest

July 6, 2018
Press Release
Letter inquires about Statue of Liberty protest incident and asks what protocols can be put in place to reduce security vulnerabilities

Staten Island, NY – July 6, 2018….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) this week sent a letter to Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, regarding the protest incident that occurred at the Statue of Liberty on July 4, which shut down the federal park for several hours and put first responders at risk. The letter asks what protocols can be put in place to reduce security vulnerabilities, prevent future incidents, and support preparedness efforts of New York Police Department and National Parks Service officers at the Statue of Liberty.

Congressman Donovan said, “Ensuring the safety and security of our monuments and infrastructure is critical to protecting our communities and the American people. Regardless of the protestor’s motivations, her actions endangered her life and the safety of first responders. There are many avenues to peacefully protest, but those rights don’t extend to illegal actions, breaching security perimeters, and threatening police officers. The brave NYPD and NPS officers handled the situation with precision, and I hope by addressing certain vulnerabilities we can prevent future incidents and better secure Liberty Island.”

The full text of the letter can be found below.

July 5, 2018

The Honorable Ryan Zinke
Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke:

I am writing to inquire about the protest incident that occurred at the Statue of Liberty on July 4th, which shut down the park for several hours and put first responders at risk. While New York City is home to the greatest law enforcement officers in the world – which was evident from the peaceful resolution of the incident – I have serious concerns about how the behavior of this individual put NYPD and National Parks Service (NPS) officers at risk. Additionally, I would like to know how much the rescue efforts cost hardworking taxpayers.

The Statue of Liberty is a national symbol that is strongly guarded due its status as a highly-visited monument, which makes it a top terrorist target. Resources allocated to law enforcement agents to guard our national monuments and the families who visit them each day should not have to be wasted on the irresponsible actions of protestors – who have many appropriate and legal avenues and venues to voice their opinions.  

It’s the federal government’s responsibility to secure the homeland and give localities the tools needed to protect our communities and infrastructure. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, I would like to understand how we can reduce security vulnerabilities, prevent future incidents, and support preparedness efforts of the NYPD and NPS officers at the Statue of Liberty.

I respectfully request answers to the following questions:

  • Will the federal government be expected to reimburse New York City for the costs associated with rescue efforts? Further, will the protestor be responsible for any charges related to the emergency response?
  • What steps will be taken to prevent future incidents?
  • What federal policies or actions would be helpful in strengthening security efforts and deterring trespassers?

This protestor’s actions endangered not only her life, but the lives of our brave New York City first responders; prevented visitors and residents from enjoying the monument, and risked damaging the statue. I sincerely thank the courageous NYPD and NPS officers who defused the situation and hope that future incidents can be prevented.

Thank you for your time and attention to these questions.

Sincerely,

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