Illinois man found guilty of hate crimes after harassing a woman in a Puerto Rico flag shirt

Timothy G. Trybus

ILLINOIS — An Illinois man who harassed a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico flag shirt has been found guilty of hate crime.

A jury convicted Timothy G. Trybus of two felony hate crime charges Wednesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney told CNN affiliate WLS.

Trybus was caught on camera June 14, 2018, berating Mia Irizarry at a northwestern Chicago park. At the time, his attorney said his client had six teeth removed the day before the incident and was under the influence of pain medication.

Irizarry said she was celebrating her 24th birthday at Caldwell Woods park when the man approached her and asked why she was wearing the shirt. In addition to the flag, it had “Puerto Rico” written below the neckline.

In the video, Irizarry pleads for help as the man harasses her and says her shirt is un-American.

“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” he says. He gets closer to her and asks “Are you a citizen? Are you a United States citizen?”

Irizarry points out that Puerto Rico is part of the United States and the man approaches her multiple times. She asks a park police officer to help.

An officer initially appears to ignore the pleas. Irizarry recorded the encounter on her phone, saying she felt threatened, and posted the video to Facebook.

The man continues his abuse, saying: “You’re not American. If you were American you wouldn’t wear that. You know that right?”

Puerto Rico is a US commonwealth. Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917 and have the right to vote in US presidential primaries but not in presidential elections.

Cook County Commissioner Jesús García had called for hate crimes charges against Trybus.

“A charge for simple assault or disorderly conduct is not sufficient,” García said at the time. “We cannot allow that ugly rhetoric to be the norm in Cook County.”

Trybus’ bond was revoked and he’ll be sentenced October 21.

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