Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Officer investigated for failing to help woman being harassed about citizenship

Officer investigated for failing to help woman being harassed about citizenship

Puerto Ricans are American citizens whether they are born on the US mainland or in Puerto Rico and have been since 1899, when Puerto Rico was acquired as a territory.

"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America", the man can be heard saying to her on a video she posted on Facebook. Eileen Figel, the agency's deputy general superintendent, described the video as "disturbing" and said the agency had apologized to Irizarry and refunded the money she spent renting the picnic area.

A 62-year-old man appears to be in need of geography lessons after he allegedly accosted a woman for wearing a T-shirt with an image of the Puerto Rican flag in an IL park. He also said, "You're not going to change us".

After the two quibbled about the USA government's relationship with Puerto Rico, Irizarry asked the man what the point of his agitation was.

The officer who appeared to ignore Irizarry's requests for assistance was assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation, the police department said.

Reports identify the man as Timothy Trybus, 62, and 10 minutes into the video, more police officers arrive.

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"All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves", a follow-up tweet said.

"Are you a United States citizen?" he asked again, prompting Irizarry to say she is.

The video has been viewed more than 1.2 million on Irizarry's Facebook page, and more than 7 million times on the NowThisPolitics Facebook page. "You should be wearing a United States of America [inaudible]".

Gov. Ricardo Rossello tweeted about the incident, calling it an "undignified event in which a Puerto Rican woman was brutally harassed by a bigot while an officer did not interfere".

Irizarry is heard in the video telling a female police officer her account of what happened, and how Connor "literally was just standing there watching the whole thing happen like nothing".

"'Is she an American citizen?" he then asks the officer.

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"Because I can", she answered, before appealing to the police to intervene, saying she had rented some of the park's outdoor seating. "People have just as much right to be here as you do, and when you're drunk you don't belong here". "He failed to deescalate the situation and therefore did not ensure a citizen's safety", Rosselló tweeted.

The man was placed under arrest and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Roselló criticized the officer's behavior but expressed faith that local authorities would appropriately address the incident, which seems to have taken place in Cook County, Illinois.

"After the incident, we immediately launched an investigation pursuant to our personnel policies into the response of our officer", it said, in a series of posts on Twitter.

Though the incident is unacceptable and upsetting, it's not entirely surprising that this unnamed man questioned her citizenship.

The Trump administration has received criticism for its treatment of Puerto Rico, particularly for its response after Hurricane Maria struck last September. Those born there are US citizens, although they can not vote in USA presidential elections.

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