Cook County Forest Preserve Police Officer Accused of Failing to Act As Man Harasses Woman For Wearing Puerto Rico Shirt

A woman asks for help from a Forest Preserve District of Cook County police officer takes no action as a man harasses a woman for wearing Puerto Rico shirt in public in the forest preserve.

Video posted to social media shows 62-year-old Timothy Trybus harassing Mia Irizarry on June 14, 2018 as she was setting up a birthday party in a reserved gazebo in Caldwell Woods on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Trybus, who appeared to be intoxicated, apparently harassed Irizarry because she was wearing the Puerto Rico T-shirt.

“You should not be wearing that (shirt) in the United States of America… Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?” … Trybus asks Irizary in the video.

Mia Irizarry explains that he has a permit, and explained that she had paid to rent the facility.

Irizarry replies several times, “Can you please get away from me?” and explained that she felt uncomfortable by the man’s actions.

Trybus gets up close to Irizarry, who tells him to back away from her. The video also shows Irizarry ask a Cook County Forest Preserves police officer, standing about 25 feet away, to help her …   

“Officer I feel highly uncomfortable can you please grab him?”                

At a press conference Tuesday, Deputy General Superintendent Eileen Figel said the police department launched an investigation into the performance of Forest Preserve Officer Patrick O’Connor immediately on the same day of the incident.

“We have apologized personally to Miss Irizarry, refunded her money, and we continue to offer our sincerest apologies for her experience.”

— Deputy General Superintendent Eileen Figel

Police officers failing to act has been documented, especially since about 2015, and has been dubbed the ‘Ferguson Effect’ where police officers fear getting drawn into a similar fate of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who eventually used a firearm to shoot and kill Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. The action resulted in riots in Ferguson, and became one of a series of claims of unjust behavior by police against black males.

Following Ferguson, we have seen incidents in which an officer failed to use justifiable force when deadly force was precisely what was required at the time. Some officers are more afraid of being labeled a fascist or a racist than they are of dying at the hands of an assailant. Some are more afraid of becoming the next YouTube sensation. Some are afraid of a lawsuit. We have taken to calling this ‘deadly hesitation’ — cops failing to save themselves from potentially fatal injuries because they fear the aftermath of a deadly force encounter more than they do the incident itself.

— Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Senior Contributor

It is unknown if the police department has a policy to wait for back up if there is no impending violence or violence in progress. However, the police chief says Forest Preserve Officer Patrick O’Connor should have taken action.

“The officer should have stepped in,” Cook County Forest Preserves Chief of Police Kelvin Pope said. “We are taking steps to ensure that our officers do everything they can to protect the safety of our patrons who come to enjoy our forest preserves.”

Additional officers arrived on the scene and arrested Timothy Trybus after O’Connor called for backup. Trybus was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

The incident escalated politically to a global level with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello commenting on his official Twitter account …








Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle offered an apology to Mia Irizarry on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, and Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. criticized the police officer’s inaction.

“This inaction by law enforcement will not be tolerated.”

— Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. (D- 8th)

Man harasses woman for wearing Puerto Rico shirt, and CNN’s Erin Burnett interviews Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello after a man harassed a woman for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag, saying it was un-American.

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ABC News: Illinois man harasses a woman for wearing Puerto Rican shirt.

 ORIGINAL VIDEO … 

See also …
PoliceOne: Deadly hesitation and de-policing: 2 troubling trends that affected officer safety in 2015