United States woman wearing Puerto Rico shirt harassed as police looks on

Larry Hoffman
July 14, 2018

Mia Irizarry was supposed to be celebrating her 24th birthday at an IL park last month, but a drunk man turned it into an unsettling scene over her Puerto Rico flag shirt.

While Puerto Rico isn't a US state, it's a commonwealth and has its own constitution.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County tweeted in response to the incident on Monday, that it was aware of the incident that occurred on June 14, and added that everyone is welcome in its preserves and that no one should feel unsafe. But Puerto Rico's power authority, PREPA, which is undergoing major changes and is bankrupt, has not agreed to buy the generators so far. "If you're an American citizen you should not be wearing that shirt in America", Trybus says.

The footage was recorded by Mia Irizarry, who was setting up a picnic in the park to celebrate her 24th birthday.

"The world is not gonna change the United States of America. Then you should not be wearing that", he says in the video.

In the video, Trybus, 62, demands to know why the woman is wearing a shirt displaying the Puerto Rican flag.

"Officer, I'm renting - I paid for a permit for this area, I do not feel comfortable with him here, is there anything you can do?" she said.

Other officers arrived on the scene, and while they were responding to a different report, Irizarry finally got the help she needed from them.

Irizarry then explained to the officer that the situation began when she requested that the group move since she had a permit. She said the group politely complied but her Puerto Rico shirt appeared to act as a trigger to the man. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police charged Trybus with assault and disorderly conduct, police officials said in a news conference Tuesday.

A video that went viral on Monday has earned a Chicago police officer desk duty for an incident that happened a month ago.

Irizarry gives a statement to the police officer, Connor, who had stood by earlier. "Can you please grab him?"

The preserve district police chief, Kelvin Pope, said he didn't know why Conner apparently didn't step in initially. "Now that I see what's going on, at no time was he going to attack you, he's just a big mouth", Connor says.

The female officer asked to see the man's ID and can be heard telling him that he's intoxicated to which he replies "well that's your judgment". "He's very distraught and not happy about having to leave employment much sooner than he intended, but because of the strong reaction from the public and political figures, he thought it would be unrealistic to stay as an officer".

Gov. Rossello wrote on Twitter that he is "appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer's behavior..." Although Puerto Ricans are US citizens, they must register in one of the 50 states to vote in presidential elections.

A 62-year-old man appears to be in need of geography lessons after he allegedly accosted a woman for wearing a T-shirt with an image of the Puerto Rican flag in an IL park. "Whether they are racists at a park, Cook County employees who do nothing, or Presidents who toss paper towels at people and denigrate Latinos w/ every Tweet, this is not the America we want to become & standing up to hate & bigotry must start at home".

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