Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Officer investigated for failing to help woman being harassed about citizenship

Officer investigated for failing to help woman being harassed about citizenship

A park police officer in Chicago has been assigned to desk duty while officials investigate his response to a woman who said she was being harassed for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag.

Later in the video, a female officer can be seen arriving on the scene and directly engaging the man.

Video of the June 14 incident at an undisclosed Cook County Forest Preserve has since gone viral, garnering more than 1 million views on Facebook alone.

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

"Are you educated?" he asked gruffly. Trybus resumes his abuse, saying: "You're not American, if you were American you wouldn't wear that".

He was referring, of course, to President Trump's visit to a hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico in October, in which he tossed rolls of towels into the crowd as if they were basketballs.

In the video, the man can be seen walking up to Irizarry, saying, "You should not be wearing that in the United States of America", and asking her, "Are you a citizen?" The world is not going to change the United States of America.

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"Are you a citizen?"

"I'm not trying to change anyone, I'm just trying to come here for a birthday", Irizarry responds.

"Officer, I paid for a permit for this area", she also says.

Puerto Rican residents have been American citizens since 1917.

"Officer, officer, I feel highly uncomfortable", Irizarry pleaded with him. She wrote on Facebook, "the man was charged and left handcuffed in the back of a squad auto".

Eventually the first officer on the scene takes notes of Irizarry's account of the incident and says that he was at the scene due to the separate incident, noting that she was not being attacked though acknowledging she felt threatened. "I do not feel comfortable with him here".

That's when the officer finally speaks up, telling the brother to "relax". In the video, Mia tries to educate him on this fact, but he ignores her and instead attempts to intimidate her by getting in her space. "People have just as much right to be here as you and when you're drunk, you don't belong here".

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The unidentified harasser, who park officers say was intoxicated, was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, wants the officer fired.

The governor demanded that the officer be expelled from the police force. "He failed to de-escalate the situation and therefore did not ensure a citizen's safety".

Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle said she learned about the incident last night.

A woman setting up a birthday picnic at an IL park was repeatedly harassed by an angry stranger for wearing a T-shirt saying "Puerto Rico" in America. We can not allow those who do not understand America's greatness to terrorize people due to their background.

"In this case, a U.S. citizen questions the citizenship of another United States citizen and American law-enforcement just sits back and watches", he said.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County tweeted in response to the incident on Monday, that it was aware of the incident that occurred on June 14, and added that everyone is welcome in its preserves and that no one should feel unsafe.

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