CHICAGO — A man caught on a now-viral video verbally harassing a Latina woman for wearing a Puerto Rico t-shirt has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct, officials said Tuesday, while a park police officer who appeared to not intervene is on desk duty pending an investigation.
Video posted to social media shows 62-year-old Timothy Trybus confronting Mia Irizarry on June 14 as she was setting up a birthday party in a reserved gazebo in Caldwell Woods on the Northwest Side.
“You should not be wearing that shirt in the United States of America… Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?” Trybus says in the video.
The video also shows Irizarry ask a nearby Cook County Forest Preserves police officer standing nearby for help, but he does not appear to intervene.
At a press conference on the matter Tuesday, Deputy General Superintendent Eileen Figel said the department launched an investigation into Forest Preserve Officer Patrick O’Connor’s actions 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,” Figel said.
Officials said O’Connor has been on the job for 10 years and has been disciplined before. He has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
“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 eventually arrived on the scene and arrested Trybus after O’Connor called for backup. Trybus now faces charges of assault and disorderly contact.
Politicians including governor of Puerto Rico and Cook Country Board President Toni Preckwinkle have also criticized the officer’s actions, with the former calling for his firing.
“This inaction by law enforcement will not be tolerated,” said Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. (D- 8th).