A white man has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct after a video of him harassing a woman wearing a t-shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it went viral.
Mia Irizarry, who had paid a permit at a Cook County park to reserve space for a birthday party, had recorded the incident on Facebook Live.
In the clip, an older, unidentified white man is seen acting in a verbally aggressive manner and repeatedly coming close to Irizarry.
He told her she ‘should not be wearing that’, referring to the Puerto Rico flag shirt.
Irizarry replies that she is wearing the shirt ‘because she can’, and tells him that the US owns Puerto Rico - it is a US Commonwealth.
The man responds with:
We don’t own Puerto Rico. Are you educated?
The original video was filmed 14 June but was posted on Facebook in July and has received millions of views since.
He told her you’re ‘not going to change us’.
Irizarry continually asked the officer who was present for help, but it appeared he did not help despite her saying she felt ‘uncomfortable’.
In the clip, she said:
As you can see the police… he’s not even grabbing him.
This guy got in my face.
That officer did absolutely nothing. He did absolutely zero. I told him I felt uncomfortable multiple times you guys were literally here watching this and he did not do anything.
Eventually, another member of her party showed up and told the man to stop, who eventually did.
In response, Forest Preserves released a statement about the incident on Twitter:
We are aware of 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.
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.
The confrontation was viewed by many, including the Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello, who called it an ‘undignified event’: