Park officer off beat after dispute over Puerto Rican shirt

14 July, 2018, 07:15 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Screen image of man yelling at woman for wearing Puerto Rico T-Shirt

A woman complained that a man at Caldwell Woods was questioning her citizenship and telling her she shouldn't be wearing the shirt. Irizarry tries several times to explain to the man that Puerto Rico is actually a part of the United States, but in all of his returns to accost her, he does not appear to listen or understand this.

The top lawyer for the union that represents Patrick Connor and his fellow officers on the Cook County Forest Preserve District police force urged people not to rush to judgment because of what was seen on a video of an incident involving Connor last month at a forest preserve.

"You're not going to change us, you know that?"

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

Irizarry replies she's not trying to change anyone and is just trying to attend a birthday party. "You should be wearing a United States of America [inaudible]".

At one point he asked the woman, "Are you educated?" When she says yes, he doesn't believe her.

Mia Irizarry posted a Facebook Live video as the man, who was drunk, repeatedly came up to her and yelled 'Why is she wearing that s**t?'

"Officer, I'm renting, I paid for a permit for this area", she adds. Not long after arriving, a middle-aged white man approached her and began to harass her about her shirt - a red, white and blue tank top designed like the Puerto Rican flag. The man was charged with disorderly conduct and assault, police said. He'll also be required by law to answer questions posed to him by a commanding officer, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said Wednesday.

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According to CNN.com, "On Tuesday, park spokeswoman Stacina Stagner said investigators will interview the officer this week about the incident".

About 10 minutes into Irizarry's 36-minute video, more police officers arrive.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello reacted to the video on Twitter.

Police have not released the name of the suspect nor the name of the officer. She calls for his help - even alerting him that she feels "highly uncomfortable" - but he does nothing.

The investigators are expected to interview the officer this week about the incident, adding that the investigation would wrap up soon.

"I am appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer's behavior", Rossello posted in a tweet. The officer is seen turning the other way. Those born there are US citizens, although they can not vote in USA presidential elections.

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

"I am very sorry for the experience the young woman had to (endure) and I'm further troubled by the lack of response and action by the initial officer on the scene". "Whether they are racists at a park, Cook County employees who do nothing, or Presidents who toss paper towels at people and denigrate Latinos w/ every Tweet, this is not the America we want to become & standing up to hate & bigotry must start at home".

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