A Cook County Forest Preserve police officer is under investigation after a woman posted a video to Facebook, accusing him of ignoring her pleas for help as a man berated her for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt last month.
Mia Irizarry accused one of the park’s police officers of standing by as a man harassed her for wearing the shirt. She recorded the incident on her phone and claimed that she felt threatened.
On Monday, Forest Preserves of Cook County released a statement via Twitter that said:
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.
All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves.
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.
In the footage, a man can be seen approaching Irizarry, saying: “You should not be wearing that in the United States of America.”
Irizarry can be heard saying that Puerto Rico is part of the United States.
Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth with its own constitution, rather than a state. Puerto Rican residents have been American citizens since 1917 and have the right to vote in US presidential primaries, but not in presidential elections.
She then asks a park police officer to help.
Irizarry can be heard explaining to the officer that the incident began when they had asked the group the man was in if they could move as they had a permit for the area.
The man involved, who authorities said was intoxicated, was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct, the forest preserve said.