FEMA admits failures in Puerto Rico disaster response, after-action report reveals

14 July, 2018, 05:30 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Woman harassed for wearing Puerto Rico shirt

Cook County Forest Preserves officials are promising action after a disturbing video showing a woman being harassed over her Puerto Rican flag T-shirt.

The charges stem from a June incident in which Trybus, who was reportedly intoxicated, confronted a woman for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag emblazoned across the front.

On Wednesday, Patrick Connor, a Forest Preserves of Cook County police officer who was being investigated for allegedly failing to act during the harassment resigned on Wednesday, and the county board commissioner on Thursday apologized and called the incident "truly appalling, gut wrenching, and a real wake-up call to everyone".

The viral video clip shows Mia Irizarry, 24, setting up her picnic when a white man approaches and demands to know why she is wearing her shirt, which had "Puerto Rico" written on it.

"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America", he tells her.

"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America".

Irizarry says Puerto Rico is part of the United States and the man approaches her multiple times.

Irizarry asked why Connor would tell her brother to get back while allowing the aggressive outsider to continue to approach Irizarry and insult her.

"His personnel file will reflect that this officer did not resign in good standing, with a note indicating that he left the district with discipline pending", the park agency's general superintendent, Arnold Randall, said Thursday.

"You are not going to change us, you know that, right?"

Meanwhile, the Forest Preserves issued its own apology for what happened. The man resumes his abuse, saying: "You're not American".

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He added that the park staff had apologised directly to Ms Irizarry and refunded the money she paid for her permit.

More police arrive, and Irizarry says she still doesn't feel safe.

And, while most police officers would have done the right thing in that incident, this guy was caught on tape doing the wrong thing, or more accurately, doing nothing, at all.

Connor was put on desk duty immediately after the incident, but nothing more was done for nearly a month.

A police officer who failed to step in has also resigned amid backlash.

"I do not feel comfortable with him here, is there anything you can do?" After the video went viral, the officer no longer has a job.

And sadly, the same fear and "otherness" is extended to other people, the handicapped, gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, immigrants, Muslims, people of color the list just goes on.

The female officer then speaks with Irizarry, who gives her version of the incident, and the officer explains they were called to the area after a report a man was choking a woman.

The incident had drawn an immediate backlash, with a number of local politicians and some from Puerto Rico condemning the attack.

Almost half of Americans are unaware that Puerto Ricans are United States citizens, according to polling taken after the island was rocked by a hurricane last September.

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