USA officer quits after harassment over Puerto Rico shirt

Cheryl Sanders
July 13, 2018

- A man who can be seen on a video chastising a woman at a Chicago forest preserve for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it has been charged with committing a hate crime, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

But he said the officer considered it "an unfortunate incident" and felt he was not "given a fair shake".

"Effective today, Officer Patrick Connor no longer serves in the police department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County", the district that manages the park where the incident happened tweeted Wednesday night.

The recording, taken by the woman involved, shows a man, identified by the police as Timothy Trybus, demanding to know why she has a Puerto Rican flag shirt on and whether the woman, Mia Irizarry, is a US citizen.

"But that isn't where our work ends", they said in a statement, adding: "We are further addressing aspects of this incident".

Trybus has a bail hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday in Skokie.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County had previously said the officer had been placed on desk duty as it investigated the incident. "You know that right?" says the man, who appears to be intoxicated. He gets closer to her and asks "Are you a citizen?"

"We might start with the fine example presented by Mia Irizarry and her family, who handled this ugly incident with great composure, never stooping to the level of the man who attacked her", he said in a written statement.

Trybus was later arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

"The world is not going to change the United States of America". More officers eventually arrived and arrested the man.

The man, who was later identified as Timothy Trybus, 62, faces two counts of felony hate crime.

"OK, OK", Ms Irizarry says, trying to placate him. "People have just as much right to be here as you and, when you're drunk, you don't belong here". The woman, Mia Irizarry, is heard appealing to the officer to help restrain the man, but the officer doesn't appear to engage until almost 10 minutes later, when other officers arrive.

"The officer should have stepped in, and he should have done something", Forest Preserves Chief of Police Kelvin Pope said at a news conference Tuesday. Officer Connor's actions came under intense fire based on the video. She said the group politely complied but her Puerto Rico shirt appeared to act as a trigger to the man.

Video of the incident shows the officer nearby but not responding. Puerto Rico is a us commonwealth.

Even Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló weighed in, saying on Twitter that he was "appalled", and that "a Puerto Rican woman was brutally harassed by a bigot while an officer did not interfere".

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