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Woman harassed for wearing Puerto Rican shirt speaks out

AP  |  Chicago 

A woman shown on a video being confronted by a man because she was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag has said that the only action a took to defuse the situation was to tell her cousin who'd stepped in to protect her to calm down.

Speaking at a conference surrounded by leaders of Chicago's Puerto Rican community yesterday, recounted the June 14 incident that received national attention after release of the video.

Hate crime charges have been filed against 62-year-old Timothy Trybus, and forest preserve has resigned.

"It was extremely surreal to think that someone whose job is to protect and serve could just completely walk away..." she said at a park in a neighborhood with a large Puerto Rican population, in her first public comments about the incident.

"If I hadn't recorded it I am pretty sure (the incident) would not have ended with my safety."

Irizarry, who was in the Chicago's Caldwell Woods Forest Preserve when she was confronted by Trybus, recounted the feeling of helplessness she felt after Trybus asked if the flag on the shirt was that of and responded that it was the flag of

Trybus scolded her, saying: "You should not be wearing that in the of America," and questioned her about whether she was an American citizen.

Connor appeared to stand quietly several feet away. She said that "just encouraged (Trybus) to be more aggressive. So I was scared." Puerto Rican citizens automatically have U.S. citizenship.

She said she remains "severely disappointed" that Connor quit without publicly explaining his decision not to come to her aid.

"I will never get to hear from this man, this protector, his reasoning for why my safety, no, my life, had such little value to him," she said, adding that she grateful that he no longer has a job where he might treat other like her.

A alderman and a of Puerto Rican descent said the fallout from the incident is not over.

urged Irizarry to sue the officer, reminding her that he pushed through legislation that allows her to "sue someone for a hate crime."

Alderman Roberto Maldonado, wearing a t-shirt with a flag of on it, urged Chicago residents to wear similar shirts on July 20 to protest her treatment.

Trybus appeared in on charges of a hate crime, assault and disorderly conduct. His attorney, David Goldman, characterized his client's behavior toward Irizarry as "obnoxious," but attributed it to a combination of alcohol and pain pills after having six teeth removed the day before.

The said that ordered Trybus released on his promise to appear in court.

He also ordered him placed on electronic home monitoring, to undergo alcohol assessment, and prohibited him from having any contact with Irizarry or any witnesses in the case or set foot on forest preserve property. He is scheduled to return to 1.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, July 14 2018. 03:25 IST