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Man charged with hate crime after video shows him harassing woman over Puerto Rico shirt

An Illinois man captured on a viral cell phone video harassing a woman for wearing a shirt that featured the Puerto Rican flag has been charged with a felony hate crime, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“After a review of the case, we approved felony hate crimes charges,” said Robert Foley, spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, as reported by the Tribune.

The man, who was later identified as Timothy Trybus, 62, faces two counts of felony hate crime. The Tribune said these are “enhancements” on prior charges of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.

Forest Preserve District Police arrested Trybus today. He is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing Friday.

In the video of the June 14 incident, which has since been widely circulated online, Trybus is heard repeatedly questioning the woman’s citizenship and told her she shouldn’t be wearing her Puerto Rican flag shirt. An officer is seen in the background, but doesn’t appear to intervene when the situation escalates.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County said in a statement late Wednesday that the officer, later identified as Patrick Connor, “no longer serves in the police department,” adding that he had resigned earlier that day.

“But that isn’t where our work ends,” the statement read. “We are further addressing aspects of this incident.”

Here’s what we know about the incident.

What does the video show?

Posted by Mia Irizarry on Thursday, June 14, 2018

WARNING: This video contains offensive language.

Several different versions of the video have appeared across social media, but they all show a man, later identified by authorities as Trybus, berating a woman. The woman, Mia Irizarry, is heard appealing to the officer to help restrain the man, but the officer doesn’t appear to engage until nearly 10 minutes later, when other officers arrive.

Trybus took issue with Irizarry’s shirt, which displayed the Puerto Rican flag. At one point in the video, Irizarry turns the phone on herself to provide a glimpse of the shirt.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens, yet Trybus, who is white, told Irizarry that “if you’re an American citizen, you should not be wearing that.”

“Are you a citizen?” he’s also heard saying.

A much longer video — around 36 minutes — shows Connor taking a statement from the woman and her brother, but after additional officers arrive at the scene.

One of the other responding officers tells Trybus that he can’t be harassing people, adding that people have just as much right to be in the park as he does.

“And when you’re drunk, you don’t belong here,” the officer tells Trybus.

Later, authorities told reporters that Trybus was charged with assault and disorderly conduct. They also said that more officers responded and arrested Trybus when the first officer asked for assistance on the radio.

What happened afterward?

Authorities said an investigation was launched the same day the incident in the park occurred.

Once the video gained traction online and as a chorus calling for the officer’s termination rose, the Forest Preserves confirmed on Twitter that Trybus, referred to as an “intoxicated individual,” was arrested and charged.

“All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves,” the district said on its official account.

On Tuesday, in a news conference with reporters, Eileen Figel of the Forest Preserve District said “there needs to be a clear and appropriate response in these situations. We acknowledge that’s not what we saw.” However, she cautioned that some things may not have been captured on video, stressing that the investigation needs to be completed.

At the same conference, the forest preserve district police chief said the officer “should’ve stepped in.”

“I think that’s the reason we’re here today, because he did not,” police Chief Kevin Pope told reporters.

Connor, who has been with the force since 2006, was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing Thursday. Connor was relegated to desk duty more than a week after the incident occurred.

Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. was much more forceful with his response at Tuesday’s conference, saying the officer’s actions will “not be tolerated.”

“I have full faith in our system and the process and the investigation that is going underway,” Arroyo said. “But me, personally, I believe this officer did not do his duty and I will not accept anything else but this officer’s termination.”

The anger over the incident also attracted the attention of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

On Twitter, he said: “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.”

It’s not clear when the investigation into the officer’s response will be completed.

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