A 62-year-old Chicago man attacked a Puerto Rican woman at the Forest Preserves of Cook County as she tried to celebrate a family birthday party last month, berating her because she was wearing a shirt featuring the flag of Puerto Rico, and video of the incident has now gone viral.
Timothy Trybus was arrested on June 14, the same day the incident occurred. About a month later, video of the assault, which had been posted to Facebook by the victim, Mia Irizarry, spread across social media.
The resulting outcry has led to more charges against Trybus. “After a review of the case, we approved felony hate crimes charges,” Robert Foley, a spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, told the Chicago Tribune. Trybus was arrested July 12 on the new charges and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, July 13. The hate crime charge is a class 3 felony that carries a potential sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison.
Along with Trybus’ racist and bigoted rants and threatening behavior, viewers were angered by the inaction of a police officer who was standing about 20 feet away and did not do anything to intervene. That officer, who works for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, was put on desk duty while the incident is investigated, officials say. He has been identified as Officer Patrick Connor, a 10-year veteran of the department. He resigned on July 11.
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. The Video Shows Trybus Asking Irizarry If She Is a Citizen & Screaming ‘the World Is Not Going to Change the United States of America’
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 and have been since 1899, when Puerto Rico was acquired as a territory.
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.”
2. He Was Intoxicated & Uncooperative, but ‘Did Not Deny That He Had an Argument’ With Irizarry, Police Say
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.
The investigation into Officer Patrick Connor‘s actions, or lack of actions, during the incident is ongoing, 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.
According to the police report, Connor was in the area for an unrelated call and had another man in handcuffs as part of that “different incident,” when he called for backup because of the altercation involving Trybus. Two officers and a sergeant responded and it was then that Trybus was taken into custody.
3. Trybus, Who Was Charged With Assault & Disorderly Conduct, Has Previously Been Arrested on Domestic Battery & Public Drunkenness Charges
Timothy Gerard 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.
Public records show Trybus has been arrested before in Cook County. In June 2004, Trybus was charged with consumption of alcohol in public. He was found guilty and sentenced to four months of probation.
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.
In Irizarry’s video, the officer, identified as 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.”
It is not clear if the officer knew about Trybus’ previous arrests.
4. He Does Not Appear to Be a Registered Voter, but He Likes Several Trump & Republican-Related Pages on Facebook
Timothy Trybus does not appear to be a registered voter in Illinois, according to public records. Trybus does like several political pages on Facebook, including many connected to President Donald Trump and prominent conservatives, including Fox News hosts and other members of the media, along with other political figures, like Kellyanne Conway.
His Facebook page does not reveal many details about his beliefs, but it does show he is a big fan of Chicago sports. He also has photos that appear to show him selling the Chicago Tribune newspaper. It is not clear if he is employed currently.
Trybus has previously lived in Northbrook and Des Plaines, Illinois, and has lived in Chicago since since 1988, according to public records.
5. Trybus’ Outburst & the Inaction of the Police Officer Has Drawn Widespread Outrage, Including From the Governor of Puerto Rico, Who Called for the Cop 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.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the date when Puerto Ricans gained citizenship. It was in 1917, not 1899.