A Chicago area police officer has resigned after he outrage after he was caught on video doing nothing while a woman was berated and threatened by a man who was angry because she was wearing a shirt that had the Puerto Rican flag on it.
Officer Patrick Connor was identified on July 10 as the officer seen in a video posted by Mia Irizarry that went viral on July 9, about a month after the incident at the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Connor resigned on July 11, the Forest Preserves said on Twitter. The man seen attacking Irizarry in the video, Timothy Trybus, was eventually arrested. Connor was about 20 feet away from Irizarry and Trybus during his onslaught of racist and bigoted attacks.
“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 Forest Preserves said on Twitter. “We are further addressing aspects of this incident and more information will be shared here and with the media tomorrow. No further information is available this evening.”
In a statement posted to Twitter, the Forest Preserves of Cook County said, “We are aware of the the June 14 incident and video. After the incident, we immediately launched an investigation pursuant to our personnel policies into the response of our officer. The investigation is ongoing and the officer involved has been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome. The intoxicated individual involved in the incident was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.”
The statement added, “All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Connor, a 10-Year Veteran of the Forest Preserve Police Department Who Has Previously Been Disciplined, Had Been on Desk Duty Since June
Officer Patrick Connor was a 10-year veteran of the Forest Preserves Police Department, the department’s chief, Kelvin Pope, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Connor had been on desk duty since June 24, when the investigation into the June 14 incident began.
Connor was previously disciplined for working a part-time job and not having proper identification, Pope said, according to the Sun-Times. His full disciplinary record and personnel file were not immediately released.
Further details about Connor’s background, including where he worked before he started at the Forest Preserves, was also not immediately available. He could not be reached for comment by Heavy and it is not clear if he has hired an attorney to represent him.
2. The Video Shows Connor Standing to the Side & Not Doing Anything as the Victim Asks Him ‘Is There Anything You Can Do?’
In the video, Timothy Trybus screams at and harasses the 24-year-old woman, Mia Irizarry, because of her shirt, asking if she is a citizen and saying she should be wearing an American flag. Puerto Ricans are American citizens whether they are born on the U.S. mainland or in Puerto Rico, which has been an American territory since 1899. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act into law.
The incident occurred on June 14, but the video went viral several weeks later, on July 9, when it was posted on social media by the news outlet NowThis. You can watch the NowThis video below:
“Are you a citizen? Then you should not be wearing that,” Trybus says in the video. He also said, “You’re not going to change us. The world is not going to change the United States of America. You should not be wearing that in the United States of America.”
Trybus was later arrested, but the a Forest Preserves police officer can be seen in the footage watching from about 20 feet away as the woman was attacked and not doing anything, leading to outrage. That officer is now under investigation. In the video, Irizarry can be heard asking the officer, “I do not feel comfortable with him here; is there anything you can do?” She later says in the video, about the officer, “He didn’t do anything.”
Another, longer version of the video, was posted to Facebook Live by Irizarry. You can watch the full video below:
Irizarry said on Facebook that she had rented out a pavilion at the Forest Preservesfor a birthday party when she and her family and friends were accosted by the unidentified man. She wrote on Facebook, “the man was charged and left handcuffed in the back of a squad car. Filing a formal complaint against the officer. I received a refund from the park district….Still had friends come over and had a decent time.”
According to the police report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, which you can read above, officers were dispatched to a report of a battery in progress. Police said the victim, Mia Irizarry, had been setting up a picnic when Timothy Trybus approached her and “mad rude comments” and “got in her face while pointing a finger at her.” Irizarry told police she “felt scared and threatened.”
Trybus was handcuffed and placed into a squad car because “he was intoxicated and being uncooperative,” police said in the report. He was also “shouting obscenities.” Police said Trybus “did not deny that he had an argument with the complainant but would say nothing more on the matter.”
According to the report, Trybus “related that he needed to use the washroom,” so he was taken to a nearby warming shelter and un-handcuffed so he could use the bathroom. When he was done, he was handcuffed again and taken to jail.
Trybus was charged with assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. He was booked into the jail about 4 p.m. on June 14 and later released. The current status of the case is not known. It is also not known if Trybus has hired an attorney. He could not be reached for comment by Heavy and also did not answer the door when Chicago reporters attempted to talk to him, according to reports.
3. Connor Told the Victim the Suspect Is Not a Threat & Is Just a ‘Loudmouth,’ but the Suspect Has a History of Battery Arrests
In Mia Irizarry’s video, Officer Patrick Connor tells her that he didn’t intervene because Trybus “is a regular and doesn’t have a violent history.” He also said he’s not a threat, but “just a big mouth.” She can be heard telling Connor, “but anything is possible,” to which he acknowledges, “you’re right.”
But public records show that in 2006, Trybus was charged in Cook County with battery (causing bodily harm) and domestic battery. In November 2006, he was sentenced to 120 days in Cook County Jail. Details of that case were not immediately available.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Trybus’ criminal history goes back farther than that. Trybus was arrested in 1997 and charged with criminal trespass a few days after an order of protection was filed against him. He was also charged with domestic battery that same year, but both cases were later dropped, along with the protective order, the newspaper reports. He was charged with domestic battery again in 2001 and that case was also dropped.
It is not clear if the officer knew about Trybus’ previous arrests.
4. Officials Said the Incident Would Be Thoroughly Investigated & ‘Disciplinary Actions Will Be Swift’
The investigation into Officer Patrick Connor’s actions, or lack of actions, during the incident is still ongoing despite his resignation, officials told the Chicago Sun-Times. Forest Preserves Deputy General Superintendent Eilieen Figel told the newspaper “disciplinary actions will be swift,” and said, “we’ve seen the video and it is very disturbing.”
Forest Preserves Police Chief Kelvin Pope told the Sun-Times, “The officer should have stepped in, and he should have done something.” Pope told the newspaper that Connor had been disciplined in the past for working a part-time job and not carrying proper identification. He has been on desk duty since June 24.
“There also needs to be due process to understand the entire context of what happened, including some things that are not captured on that video,” Figel told reporters.
5. The Video Has Sparked Widespread Outrage on Social Media, Including From the Governor of Puerto Rico, Who Has Called for Connor to Be Fired
The video of the incident quickly went viral, with millions of views on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. It led to reactions from local politicians and officials, along with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello responded on Twitter, “Today a video surfaced of an undignified event in which a Puerto Rican woman was brutally harassed by a bigot while an officer did not interfere. I am appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer’s behavior. … We will be looking into this incident as our offices in DC are in contact with local and state authorities, demanding that this officer be expelled from the police force. He failed to deescalate the situation and therefore did not ensure a citizen’s safety.”
Rossello added that Cook County is home to a diverse population and he believes Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will handle the incident properly. He added, “The United States of America is a nation that was built and thrives on diversity. We cannot allow those who do not understand America’s greatness to terrorize people because of their background. This is not the America we all believe in.”
Preckwinkle issued an apology to Mia Irizarry, according to the Chicago Tribune, saying it was “completely unacceptable” what she went through and adding she was sorry for the “terrible experience” she had at the park.
“We’ve worked hard over the last 7 1/2 years to make the Forest Preserve District a welcoming place for all. The incident in June is completely unacceptable. I apologize to the young woman who had this terrible experience. I’m troubled by the response of the initial officer on the scene,” Preckwinkle told the Tribune. She would not say that the officer should be fired, but did say she talked to Rossello.
“I expressed my regret over the June 14 incident in the Caldwell Woods Forest Preserves and assured him that what is shown in the video does not represent our values in Cook County. I assured him that disciplinary action regarding the Forest Preserves police officer will be taken upon conclusion of our investigation,” she said.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Illinois’ 4th District, said in a statement, “I understand this incident on a gut level because almost exactly the same thing happened to me when I was a freshman in Congress. I was denied entry into the Capitol complex by U.S. Capitol Police despite being a Congressman with identification, because my daughter was carrying a Puerto Rican flag and the officer doubted that I could possibly be a Member of Congress.”
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