Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Man faces hate crime charges over racist Puerto Rico shirt rant

Man faces hate crime charges over racist Puerto Rico shirt rant Man faces hate crime charges over racist Puerto Rico shirt rant
Melinda Barton | 13 July, 2018, 05:26

IL woman harassed for Puerto Rico flag shirt, officer who didn't help put on desk dutyThe Cook County State's Attorney's Office said Timothy Trybus, 62, has been charged with two counts of felony hate crime.

"After a review of the case, we approved felony hate crimes charges", said Robert Foley, spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, as reported by the Tribune. Trybus was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Mia Irizarry says she was trying to celebrate her 24th birthday last month when the man approached her asking her why she was wearing the sleeveless Puerto Rico flag shirt, which also had "Puerto Rico" written below the V neckline.

In the video, posted to Facebook by Irizarry, he can be seen repeatedly coming towards her while shouting at her as she asks him to stop.

But the officer, Patrick Connor, turns his back and walks towards his patrol vehicle.

In the wake of the incident, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle offered her apology to the woman and took the unusual step of calling Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico.

He added: "The United States of America is a nation that was built and thrives on diversity".

"All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves", the district said on its official account.

"The video does not look good, but anybody who is a football fan knows that the video does not tell the whole story", Tamara Cummings, general counsel for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, said.

"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 vehicle.

More officers arrived and arrested the man. These angry outbursts and attacks do not represent our values here at the Forest Preserve system and in Cook County, and are not representing who we are as a country. "Are you a United States citizen?"

"Yes I am", Irizarry replied. While Trybus shouts at her, points at her face and follows her around part of the park, Connor can be seen standing about 20 feet away with his hands against his chest.

Cook County Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García had called for such charges against Trybus a day earlier.

"Officer, I feel highly threatened", she says, as Mr Connor turns his back and walks towards his patrol auto. "You know that right?" says the man, who appears to be intoxicated.

Prior to his resignation, Conner had been placed on desk duty in the wake of the June 14 harassment incident.

It's not clear when the investigation into the officer's response will be completed.

Quick aside and history lesson: Puerto Ricans are indeed USA citizens.