Mia Irizarry was supposed to be celebrating her 24th birthday at an IL park last month, but a drunk man turned it into an unsettling scene over her Puerto Rico flag shirt.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin removing mega-generators providing backup power at Puerto Rico's power plants as soon as next week, and island officials are concerned this is taking place in the middle of hurricane season.
The video shows an intoxicated man approaching and harassing the woman, Mia Irizarry, at the Forest Preserves of Cook County in June. He also said, "You're not going to change us". On video, you can hear her saying, "I am renting this area and he's harassing me about the shirt that I'm wearing".
Irizarry asked a park police officer to intervene multiple times, pointing out that the man was harassing her, and that she paid to rent the area he was intruding on. "You should be wearing United States of America flag", he said.
Wearing a Puerto Rican T-shirt at a birthday party is apparently some sort of crime against the United States of America. He asks her if she is an American citizen, to which she responds that she is. At one point the officer can be seen walking away from her as she says, "Officer, I feel entirely uncomfortable, can you remove ... please officer".
A Hunter College student from Somers who volunteered to help fix and reconstruct many homes in Puerto Rico decimated by Hurricane Maria shared her experience with News 12. "Please, officer", she says. "Why is she wearing that s-?"
The park is now investigating the conduct of the police officer in question, who has been assigned to desk duty till the investigation reaches its conclusion. "All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves". The agency tweeted Monday that an investigation of the officer is ongoing.
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Eventually, more officers arrived, and the woman was able to file a police report.
Just a few meters outside the pavilion, an officer stood with his hands tucked in his belt, watching the encounter.
Let's imagine if a white woman said she was being harassed by a Black or Latin person, the police would have dragged them to jail, tased or even shot him.
A Forest Preserve District spokeswoman released a statement: "Effective today, Officer Patrick Connor no longer serves in the police department of the Forest Preserves of Cook County". "Now that I see what's going on, at no time was he going to attack you, he's just a big mouth", Connor says.
A 62-year-old man appears to be in need of geography lessons after he allegedly accosted a woman for wearing a T-shirt with an image of the Puerto Rican flag in an IL park.
"I am appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer's behavior", Rossello tweeted. The video shows him asking whether or not the woman has US citizenship. "This is not the America we all believe in".
Cook County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle called Puerto Rico's governor about the incident on Tuesday.