Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Man who harassed woman over Puerto Rico shirt charged with hate crime

Man who harassed woman over Puerto Rico shirt charged with hate crime

An Illinois police officer has resigned after being criticized for not intervening as a man harassed a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag shirt.

The man who was tormenting Irizarry, identified by police as Timothy Trybus, 62, has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Trybus could face up to five years in prison for each of the hate crime charges.

A woman who was visiting Caldwell Woods on June 14 complained that a man approached her and questioned her citizenship, telling her she shouldn't be wearing the Puerto Rico shirt, even though the Caribbean island is a US commonwealth and its residents are considered American citizens. Trybus asks in the video.

The officer resigned Wednesday and the investigation into the incident continues, the agency said.

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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello reacted to the video Monday on Twitter.

He's scheduled to be in court on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But the video makes clear that we all have to step up to defend the United States from this tide of bullying, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia, and stand up for what America is really all about.

I showed my official ID as a Member of Congress, to which the officer said, "I don't think so", indicating that she thought my ID was a fake and that I couldn't possibly be a Member of Congress.

During the clip, which went on to be viewed almost two million times, Trybus yells at Irizarry that she "should not be wearing that in the United States of America" in reference to her Puerto Rican flag shirt, as well as repeatedly asking if she is an American citizen. "We are looking at ways to improve all aspects of employee training", said Cook County Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall.

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Ms Irizarry calls on a nearby park police officer for help. Are you a citizen?'

A second officer eventually arrives to speak to Trybus.

And anyone who has eyeballs can see how police do not handle encounters with Black and brown people the same as with whites.

Irizzary then tries to plead with policeman again, saying: 'Officer, I paid for a permit for this area, I do not feel comfortable here, is there anything you can do?' The officer is seen walking away. Meanwhile an investigation into the incident continues despite the officer's resignation.

"It was truly appalling, gut wrenching and a real wake up call", Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. said.

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The appalling incident of June 14 and the inaction of one former member of the Forest Preserves Police should not diminish the greatness of the Preserves, nor dissuade people from enjoying our 70,000 acres of nature and beauty. President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 signed into law the Jones-Shafroth Act, granting USA citizenship to residents of Puerto Rico.

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