Illinois Police Officer Who Appeared to Ignore Woman Being Harassed for Wearing Puerto Rican Flag Shirt Resigns

An officer with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department appeared to keep his distance while a man harassed a woman over her Puerto Rican flag shirt in a Chicago park.
Mia Irizarry

An Illinois police officer who drew criticism after he was caught on video appearing to ignore a woman’s pleas for help as a man harassed her about a Puerto Rican flag shirt resigned his position late Wednesday, officials said.

The officer, Patrick Connor, a 12-year veteran of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County Police Department, had been put under investigation and on desk duty after a widely shared video of the confrontation angered public officials, including Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico.

In a statement announcing Officer Connor’s resignation, officials with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County said that they planned to further address “aspects of this incident” and that they would not provide additional details until Thursday.

The episode took place last month in Caldwell Woods, a park in northern Chicago. The recording, taken by the woman involved, shows a man, identified by the police as Timothy Trybus, demanding to know why she has a Puerto Rican flag shirt on and whether the woman, Mia Irizarry, is a United States citizen. While Mr. Trybus shouts at her, points at her face and follows her around part of the park, Officer Connor can be seen standing about 20 feet away with his hands against his chest.

“You are not going to change us, you know that, right?” Mr. Trybus, 62, says to Ms. Irizarry, 24, as he walks up to her. “Are you a United States citizen? Then you should not be wearing that.”

Ms. Irizarry, who was at the park with friends for a birthday party, can be heard on the video telling Mr. Trybus that she is indeed an American citizen. Her friends can be heard telling him that Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

At one point in the video, Ms. Irizarry tries to move away from Mr. Trybus and walks out from under a pavilion, but he follows her as Officer Connor appears not to approach them.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Matt Stevens