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Prosecutors consider hate crime charge against man who screamed at woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt

Gregory Pratt and Matthew Walberg, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Cook County prosecutors are considering felony hate crime charge against the Chicago man accused of berating a woman at a forest preserve last month for wearing a shirt emblazoned with the flag of Puerto Rico.

The review comes as pressure mounts from political and legal circles to upgrade the charges against Timothy G. Trybus for his rant last month that was caught on video by the victim.

It also comes as news broke late Wednesday of the resignation of the Forest Preserve officer who was seen on the video seeming to ignore the woman's calls for assistance.

Trybus is currently facing charges of misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, but on Wednesday, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, a Democrat, released a statement calling on the Cook County state's attorney to lodge stiffer charges.

"A charge for simple assault or disorderly conduct is not sufficient, this incident must be investigated and charged as a hate crime," Garcia said in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago-based Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois called for hate crime charges against Trybus.

"We demand State's Attorney Kim Foxx charge Timothy Trybus with a hate crime," the association said in a written statement. "This is warranted from Mr. Trybus' words and threatening action."

Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman Robert Foley said Wednesday that prosecutors were reviewing the case and considering whether to file hate crime charges, but that no decision had been made as of Wednesday afternoon. He would not comment further on the case.

The June 14 incident, which was captured on video at Caldwell Woods on Chicago's Far Northwest Side, came to light Monday; it prompted an apology from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who later said she expressed her regrets in a phone call to Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello.

More fallout came late Wednesday when the district announced that the officer in question, Patrick Connor, had resigned, effective immediately, days after the video footage of the encounter went viral. He had been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation. He could not be reached Wednesday.

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