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USA officer quits after harassment over Puerto Rico shirt

14 July 2018

An Illinois police officer has resigned after video showed him ignoring a woman's pleas for help while a man berated her for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt.

"A charge for simple assault or disorderly conduct is not sufficient, this incident must be investigated and charged as a hate crime", he posted.

General Superintendent Arnold Randall also stated, "We at the Forest Preserves of Cook County applaud the State's Attorney decision to file hate crime charges against Timothy Trybus". 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 USA citizen.

"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America", Trybus said in a video that Irizarry posted on Facebook.

"Officer, officer, I feel highly uncomfortable", Irizarry tells Connor, who does not appear to respond to her as he is addressed, and can be seen turning his back and walking toward his police auto.

Officer Patrick Connor was supposed to have a sit down with his bosses about the incident, but instead he quit on July 11, The Chicago-Sun Times reported. He was supposed to face a disciplinary hearing Thursday.

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"You are not going to change us, you know that, right?"

Randall said the Forest Preserve refunded Irizarry permit fee and apologized. "Are you a United States citizen?" he screamed, referring to the shirt as "un-American".

Then, she says: "Officer, I'm renting, I paid for a permit for this area". 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.

In an earlier statement, the police said that an investigation had been launched and the officer had been placed on desk duty.

This is certainly not the first time, but right now we are in a moment of history when Americans are being told to fear other Americans and one of the reasons I think the video went viral is because it is emblematic of our times. "We should be able to depend on a police officer to control the situation".

A second officer eventually arrives to speak to Trybus.

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A female officer asks to see his ID and can be heard telling him he's intoxicated, to which he replies: "Well, that's your judgment".

"OK, OK", Ms Irizarry says, trying to placate him. As we said yesterday, if a white woman said she was being harassed by a Black or Latin person, the police would have reacted with a quickness.

But it's critical for us to also agree that words and thoughts being expressed by people in America right now, people with voices that reach millions, can contribute to such despicable actions. "We intend to use the video in future training exercises for our officers".

Irizarry can be heard explaining to the officer that the incident began when they had asked the group the man was in if they could move as they had a permit for the area.

"You shouldn't be wearing that", he said, referring to a shirt that read Puerto Rico and displayed the flag.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth with its own constitution. Puerto Rican residents have been American citizens since 1917 and have the right to vote in USA presidential primaries but not in presidential elections.

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USA officer quits after harassment over Puerto Rico shirt