A harassment situation escalated rapidly — all while a police officer looked on
In a now-viral video, a cop is seen refusing to help a woman who is being relentlessly harassed by an angry white man in a public park. The angry man gets in the woman’s face repeatedly, raises his voice, and the woman begs for help — all while the cop stands in the background, looking on.
The woman, who has been identified as Mia Irizarry, was celebrating her 24th birthday in the Forest Preserves of Cook County when a belligerent man (because of course he is) aggressively approached her and asked her why she was wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it.
Woman wears a Puerto Rico shirt.
A man confronts her for wearing it, repeatedly approaches her within a couple feet, and questions her citizenship.
When the woman pleads for a nearby police officer to keep the man back from her, he ignores her. pic.twitter.com/0YwG1rIuSl
— Riley (@TheRileyWilson) July 9, 2018
He also asks her if she’s an “American citizen” even though Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States and its residents are considered U.S. citizens. The man, identified as Timothy Trybus, is quite apparently unaware of this fact.
“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” he screams at Irizarry, who recorded the entire incident on her phone. The video shows a police officer in the background just yards away, uselessly standing by while Irizarry asks for help multiple times.
“Officer, I’m renting this area and he’s harassing me about the shirt I’m wearing,” she says. There’s no way he doesn’t see or hear what’s unfolding in front of him, but he steadfastly refuses to do his job — neither protecting nor serving throughout this entire scenario.
As the video progresses, the officer eventually acknowledges Irizarry — but doesn’t exactly respond to her pleas for help the way he should. “So, uh, now that I see what’s going on, I see what’s happening between you and him,” he says in the video. “So, uh, at no time was he going to attack you. He’s just a big mouth.”
Oh really? So you can predict an angry, belligerent man’s behavior just like that, huh? A man who has no qualms about violently approaching a woman he doesn’t know to verbally attack her and aggressively cross the boundary of her personal space — what if he wasn’t “just a big mouth?” What would it have to take for this guy to do his fucking job?
The Forest Preserves park took to their Twitter account to announce the incident involving the officer was “under investigation.”
We are aware of the the June 14 incident and video. After the incident, we immediately launched an investigation pursuant to our personnel policies into the response of our officer.
— Forest Preserves (@FPDCC) July 9, 2018
The investigation is ongoing and the officer involved has been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome. The intoxicated individual involved in the incident was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct.— Forest Preserves (@FPDCC) July 9, 2018
All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves.— Forest Preserves (@FPDCC) July 9, 2018
It’s painful listening to this woman repeatedly ask for help in a situation that warranted it only to be brushed off. The bottom line here is if this officer isn’t held accountable for his actions (or inaction, to be accurate), then his credibility and that of his department is in jeopardy. Because you can’t vow to “protect and serve” your community and then completely fail in doing just that. What if the situation had escalated to something more dire? This woman needed that police officer to intervene, plain and simple.