The incident became widely known when a video of the encounter was posted on social media, prompting condemnation from activists, politicians and the governor of Puerto Rico. A police officer who didn’t intervene has resigned.
CHICAGO — The Chicago man shown in a viral video berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt has been charged with a felony hate crime.
“After a review of the case, we approved felony hate-crimes charges,” said Robert Foley, spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Foley said Timothy Trybus faces two counts of felony hate crime, which are enhancements on the charges of misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct he was previously charged with.
Trybus, 62, was arrested Thursday by Cook County Forest Preserve District Police, and is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing Friday afternoon at the Skokie courthouse.
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The incident in question occurred June 14 in Caldwell Woods forest preserve. But it became widely known this week when a video of the encounter was posted on social media, prompting condemnation from many local activists and politicians and from the governor of Puerto Rico.
In the video, a man later identified as Trybus confronts and screams at a woman about her shirt, telling her she should not be wearing it in the United States.
In addition to the man’s actions and comments, it was the apparent inaction of a forest-preserve police officer, seen in the background, that elicited heavy criticism. The footage showed the officer seemingly ignoring the woman’s requests for his help as she explains that the man was harassing her and that she has a permit to be in the public space.
The fallout since the video’s dissemination has been swift: The officer, Patrick Connor, who had been placed on desk duty June 24 during an internal investigation, resigned Wednesday amid calls for the forest-preserve district to terminate his employment.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said it’s clear to him the state’s attorney did “the right thing.”
Gutierrez, a national leader on immigration who has been vociferous in his criticism of President Donald Trump, tied the comments on the video to the general political atmosphere in the country.
“There should be consequences. People have to learn there are consequences, especially in the era of Trump,” Gutierrez said. “I really do believe there are people who say to themselves, ‘If Trump can do it, I can do it. Why can’t I go out there and say the things the president says?’ ”
He said this is a moment in time when local authorities must step in on racial and other issues, as he said the more conservative federal Justice Department is less interested in these issues than during past administrations.
“I think this is the way until we retrieve rational governance at the federal level,” Gutierrez said.