Officer Patrick Connor, who appeared to ignore a woman being harassed at a public park in Chicago, has resigned. The video was broadcast on Facebook Live on June 14 by 24-year-old Mia Irizarry. She was at Caldwell Woods, a park in Chicago, for a birthday party, when a man accosted her.
The man in his 60s, now identified as Timothy Trybus, continually berates and harasses Irizarry over a shirt that resembled the Puerto Rican flag that says “Puerto Rico” on it. But as this video has gone viral, one of the more troubling aspects of the incident is that the police officer whom Irizarry is approaching for help appears to ignore her.
Eventually, some of Irizarry’s friends intervene and force the man to move away, as Officer Connor remains still about 50 feet away.
The whole thing is especially ironic because Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, and anyone born in Puerto Rico is a United States citizen.
In fact, shirts like the one Irizarry was wearing have been seen quite frequently across the U.S. in an attempt to bring attention to the devastation Puerto Rico is still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and the Trump administration’s lackluster response to it, and there’s been a robust statehood movement in Puerto Rico for decades. Currently, they’re a U.S. territory but don’t have representation in Congress.
A 2017 poll showed that nearly half of Americans don’t know that people born in Puerto Rico are United States citizens.
At any rate, the validity of Trybus’ argument aside, people were still shocked that Officer Connor didn’t intervene.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, tweeted: “We will be looking into this incident as our offices in DC are in contact with local and state authorities, demanding that this officer be expelled from the police force. He failed to deescalate the situation and therefore did not ensure a citizen’s safety.”, and Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Chicago condemned the police officer on the House floor.
Gutierrez shared his own experience of being denied entry to the Capitol complex after he was already a member of Congress because his daughter was carrying a Puerto Rican flag. Eventually, another officer arrived and Trybus was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and assault, and that new officer was kind of a badass and put Trybus in his place.
But later, while Officer Connor was interviewed by Irizarry, he defended his inaction, saying he didn’t believe Trybus was ever going to attack her. Connor was put on desk duty after the incident, and the Forest Preserves police department of Cook County confirmed that he resigned.
Effective today, Officer Patrick Connor no longer serves in the police department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. He resigned late today. But that isn’t where our work ends.
— Forest Preserves (@FPDCC) July 12, 2018
The department has vowed to continue addressing aspects of the incident and work to avoid such mistakes in the future. By the way, if this whole thing makes you upset and you want one of those shirts, you can get it on eBay for about 12 bucks.
Maybe the silver lining from all this will be increased support for Puerto Rican statehood? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.