Police officer resigns, suspect charged with hate crime after woman wearing Puerto Rico shirt harassed

A police officer resigned Wednesday after taking heat for failing to help a woman who was being harassed for wearing a Puerto Rico flag shirt in a now viral video, officials said.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County, which runs several wooded areas that surround Chicago, announced on Twitter that Officer Patrick Connor had resigned, but the investigation into the incident will continue.

Connor was assigned to desk duty after a video of the harassment, which occurred last month, was posted on Facebook and went viral.

Many, including Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, called for Connor’s firing. In a tweet Monday Rossello said Puerto Rican officials in Washington, D.C., had been in contact with “local and state authorities, demanding that this officer be expelled from the police force.”

Mia Irizarry captured the footage as she was setting up a picnic in the park to celebrate her 24th birthday. A man, who has since been identified as Timothy Trybus, approached her and demanded to know why she was wearing her shirt, which also had the words “Puerto Rico” written on it.

“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” Trybus shouts.”Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?”

Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth and its residents have been American citizens since 1917.

As Trybus continues to berate her, Irizarry repeatedly asks Connor, who was standing nearby, to help, saying “I am renting this area and he’s harassing me about the shirt that I’m wearing.”

When the policeman did nothing, she again requests help. “Officer, I feel entirely uncomfortable, can you remove … please officer.” The officer is then seen walking away.

More: Caught on video: Man harangues woman in park for wearing Puerto Rico shirt; police officer does little to help

Connor eventually approaches Trybus shortly before other officers arrive and intervene.

Later in the video, Irizarry comments that Connor “did absolutely nothing. He did absolutely zero. I told him I felt uncomfortable multiple times … literally here watching this and he did not do anything.”

The Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois has demanded Trybus to be charged with a hate crime.

“We believe this was assault. He’s yelling at this woman, threatening her,” said Claudia Badillo, a Chicago lawyer and acting president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois. “His actions meet, at the very least, assault under the hate crime statute, and maybe even more aggravated assault.”

Badillo said that while Trybus has been charged with misdemeanor assault, because the incident took place it a public park it could be considered a Class 3 felony under Illinois’ recently updated hate crime statute.

Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, confirmed that Trybus had been charged with twin counts of felony hate crime. She said he will appear for a bail hearing Friday at the Cook County Courthouse at 1:30 pm.

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

 

 

 

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