Man Convicted of Hate Crime, Police Officer Resigns Caught on Camera
An Illinois man who harassed a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico flag shirt has been found guilty of hate crime.
A jury convicted Timothy G. Trybus of two felony hate crime charges Wednesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney told CNN affiliate WLS.
Trybus was caught on camera June 14, 2018, berating Mia Irizarry at a northwestern Chicago park. At the time, his attorney said his client had six teeth removed the day before the incident and was under the influence of pain medication.
Irizarry said she was celebrating her 24th birthday at Caldwell Woods park when the man approached her and asked why she was wearing the shirt. In addition to the flag, it had “Puerto Rico” written below the neckline.
In the video, Irizarry pleads for help as the man harasses her and says her shirt is un-American.
“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” he says. He gets closer to her and asks “Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?”
Irizarry points out that Puerto Rico is part of the United States and the man approaches her multiple times. She asks a park police officer to help.
During the encounter, Irizarry asks Officer Patrick Connor to intervene as she feels “highly uncomfortable” as the 62-year-old continues to intimidate her.
“That officer did absolutely nothing, he did zero,” Irizarry said during the video. “I told him I felt uncomfortable multiple times and he didn’t do anything.
“The craziest thing is there’s all these cops here and I still don’t feel safe,” she later adds.
A second officer eventually arrives to speak to Trybus. “You don’t come here harassing people,” she says. “People have just as much right to be here as you do, and when you’re drunk you don’t belong here.”
The Forest Preserves confirmed they launched an investigation into the response of the officer, with Connor assigned to desk duty pending the outcome.
They have now confirmed that Cook has resigned from his role while promising further details to be released.
“Effective today, Officer Patrick Connor no longer serves in the police department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. He resigned late today. But that isn’t where our work ends,” the department wrote on Twitter.
An officer initially appears to ignore the pleas. Irizarry recorded the encounter on her phone, saying she felt threatened and posted the video to Facebook.
The man continues his abuse, saying: “You’re not American. If you were American you wouldn’t wear that. You know that right?”
Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth. Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917. Those living in Puerto Rico can vote in US presidential primaries but not in presidential elections. Puerto Ricans living and registering in the continental US, however, can vote in both.
Cook County Commissioner Jesús García had called for hate crimes charges against Trybus.
“A charge for simple assault or disorderly conduct is not sufficient,” García said at the time. “We cannot allow that ugly rhetoric to be the norm in Cook County.”
Trybus’ bond was revoked and he’ll be sentenced October 21.
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