Caught on video ignoring a woman’s pleas for help, a cowardly police officer was recently identified and assigned to desk duty for failing to do his job as a drunk racist verbally assaulted a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag on her shirt. Due to the officer’s blatant incompetence, the police department has launched an investigation into his refusal to stop a crime in progress.
On June 14, Mia Irizarry rented a forest preserve pavilion for a birthday party and had been issued a permit for the event at the Caldwell Woods Forest Preserve in Cook County, Illinois. As an inebriated bigot named Timothy Trybus began yelling obscenities at her, Irizarry began recording a video of the incident as Trybus repeatedly ignored her requests to stop aggressively approaching her while shoving his finger in her face for wearing a shirt designed as the flag of Puerto Rico.
“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” Trybus slurred his speech while incessantly berating her. “Are you a citizen? Are you a U.S. citizen?”
According to the Jones-Shafroth Act, Puerto Ricans have been recognized as U.S. citizens since 1917.
“Can you please get away from me?” Irizarry asked Trybus before repeatedly asking Cook County Forest Preserves Police Officer Patrick Connor to help her.
“You’re not going to change us,” Trybus added. “The world is not going to change the United States of America. You should not be wearing that in the United States of America.”
Instead of de-escalating the situation or providing protection for the innocent woman, Officer Connor refused to even look in their general direction before walking away. Based on the officer’s inaction, he appeared to either be afraid of the 62-year-old white nationalist or condoning his racist rant.
“As you can see the police are not even – he’s not even grabbing him,” Irizarry observed while continuing to record the incident. “Like this guy is just walking up to me. He basically got in my face, damn near almost touched me.”
According to the police report, other officers later arrived at the scene and handcuffed Trybus “because he was intoxicated and being uncooperative by shouting obscenities. Timothy did not deny that he had an argument with the complainant but would say nothing more on the matter.”
Loaded into the back of a squad car, Trybus was detained and charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct. According to Dennis White, chief attorney for the forest preserves, the charges against Trybus “could be updated” as a hate crime.
On June 24, Officer Connor was assigned to desk duty due to his lack of competence or any type of adequate response to the situation. On Tuesday, Forest Preserves Police Chief Kelvin Pope identified Connor as the officer in the video and announced that an investigation has been launched into the inept cop’s inaction.
“The investigation is ongoing and the officer involved has been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome. The intoxicated individual involved in the incident was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct,” the Forest Preserves tweeted.
Another tweet said, “All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves.”
“If the investigation confirms the officer did not take appropriate steps to ensure public safety, disciplinary action will be swift,” Forest Preserves spokeswoman Stacina Stagner stated. “At the same time, this video will help inform ongoing officer training so we can all learn from this unfortunate episode.”
“I expressed my regret over the June 14 incident in the Caldwell Woods Forest Preserves and assured him that what is shown in the video does not represent our values in Cook County,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “I assured him that disciplinary action regarding the Forest Preserves police officer will be taken upon conclusion of our investigation.”
In response to the video, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello tweeted on Monday, “Today a video surfaced of an undignified event in which a Puerto Rican woman was brutally harassed by a bigot while an officer did not interfere. I am appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer’s behavior.”
As President Donald Trump continues to demean immigrants as political scapegoats while supporting neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, the bigotry in this country continues to escalate with no end in sight.