Public parks are a different world for people of color

The actions of a drunken racist in Illinois, who verbally attacked a woman wearing a shirt evoking the flag of Puerto Rico in a park, aren’t much of a mystery. He’s a drunken racist.

The cop who refused to intervene, however, is a bit more puzzling and officials are promising more information today after Patrick Connor, a 12-year veteran of the Cook County Police Department, resigned late Wednesday, the New York Times says.

Posted by Mia Irizarry on Thursday, June 14, 2018

It happened last month at a park in northern Chicago.

“You are not going to change us, you know that, right?” Timothy Trybus, 62, says to Mia Irizarry, 24, as he walks up to her. “Are you a United States citizen? Then you should not be wearing that.”

Asked to help, Connor walks away.

“That officer did absolutely nothing — he did absolutely zero,” Irizarry said in the video she posted to her Facebook page. She has refused interview requests.

It’s one of a growing list of incidents of people of color being assaulted for being in public.

It’s been happening for years, now social media exposes the reality, according to Keith Mayes, professor and chair of the College of Liberal Arts at University of Minnesota, who is the subject of an interview by the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder in an unrelated column about police being used as “black people removers” published today.

“I love it,” Mayes says of the video takedowns. “That’s why social media is so important, because we need to put them on blast. #PermitPatty had to resign as CEO of her company when video surfaced online as she called police on a little girl selling water in front of her apartment complex. She paid a price for it.

“I think if more people paid prices for doing stuff like this, they are less likely to do it. I just think we need to put some folks on blast and have that be the educational campaign that we engage in for now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Park Police in Minneapolis are still investigating the incorrect claim of a 911 caller at Minnehaha Falls Regional Park on Tuesday, claiming four black teens had a gun. They didn’t, though police didn’t know that when weapons were drawn on the kids when responding.

“We don’t want to keep our kids in the house for fear that White folks will call the cops” Mayes says. “You know, we’re talking about young kids just walking around the neighborhood or going to the store or a swimming pool.

“They think the Black person is a source of menace, even a Black child. So they call the police to remove the Black person from their sight. I think it’s gone beyond any kind of reasonable call for someone you think is doing something wrong. They’re thinking, “I just don’t want to see these Negroes around here!”

  • EarthToBobby

    So very true.

    This kind of harassment is also why I won’t go camping anymore.

    • joetron2030

      That sad to hear but I can totally understand why. It’s always a question mark for me as to whether I’m going to encounter any kind of harassment when I head out into the more rural parts of MN and WI.

  • jon

    I’ve seen lots of reactions to this that “Puerto Rico is a part of the US… what a stupid racist idiot.”

    I’d like to point out that both parties have statehood for PR in their platforms in 2016, neither of them appears to be doing much to support it…

    Trump has been quoted as saying something to the effect of “if they can promise two republican senators then they’d be a state yesterday”

    Statehood for PR, they voted for it, if we are a nation that supports the rights for self determination then we need to do what we can to provide at least a road map for them to get it.

    Take PR out of limbo and stop being pompous when you say “well of course PR is part of the US…” when it’s not all that obvious on account of the fact that they have no (voting) representation in our federal government… fix the problem instead of going all “elitist” because you know a bit of trivia.

    • >>fix the problem instead of going all “elitist” because you know a bit of trivia.<<

      Trivia? Hardly, especially since PR (and its status) has been in the news since the hurricanes. Anyone not knowing that PR residents are US citizens isn't paying attention.

      • // when it’s not all that obvious on account of the fact that they have no (voting) representation in our federal government… fix the problem instead of going all “elitist” because you know a bit of trivia.

        Another bit of trivia: You can wear anything you freaking want to in the United States and you don’t have to explain any statehood trivia to anybody to justify wearing it, least of all some old racist Baby Boomer.

      • jon
        • Stories like this prove my point stated above: Anyone not knowing that PR residents are US citizens isn’t paying attention.

          • lindblomeagles

            Yep. And I’ll go further here Onan. Puerto Rico’s political status is VERY SIMILAR to Washington D.C.’s. Like Puerto Rico, Washington’s representatives to Congress CAN’T VOTE on legislation. Like Puerto Rico, Washingtonians are American citizens, but they don’t have a say in the U.S. government. Washingtonians periodically have had movements to gain greater voice in the American Congress, but those movements have failed. If you want a voice in the American Congress, as a Washingtonian, you have to move into Virginia or Baltimore, much like Puerto Ricans have to move to the 50 US states. This was all covered in my 5th grade social studies class, and I attended a poor elementary school on the South Side of Chicago. Everybody should know these things by the time they are adults.

          • Rob

            Ah, more of that good old American Exceptionalism.

          • That’s excusing an old racist white guy’s racism by assuming he doesn’t know that. He may well know that. The problem is he doesn’t like “those kind”. This woman should’ve been able to wear the flag of Somalia or anything else.

            Nope, this guy doesn’t want non-whites in his park. THAT’s what this story proves. with his “you’re not going to change us” declaration, this is a guy who feels his white privilege is threatened and he wants to hang onto it . Period.

            There are a million more out there just like him.

          • I wasn’t excusing anyone. I was only addressing the use of the word “trivia” regarding the status of residents of PR.

            I agree 100% with your position regarding this racist (and others like him) and the t-shirt issue.

      • DarNamell

        Onan, you are talking about people who refuse to believe Hawai’i is a state so they can keep believing Barack Obama was never their president.

        Facts will never override their hatred of others.

    • lindblomeagles

      I have to go along with Onan and Bob on this point Jon. If you’ll recall, Dear Jon, during the British invasion of the 1960s, people wore Beatles T-shirts all the time. They were in no way supporting a move BACK to King England. The World Cup is going on today. If I decide to wear the French Flag for a shirt in support of the team hopefully winning against Croatia, are you telling us that I can’t wear that shirt; that I should be on guard for whites who hate France? And by the way, Puerto Rico is no mere trivia. Washington D.C. CAN’T vote or have a voice in lots of legislation. Like Puerto Rico, they have had movements to have equal representation in Congress. But, by your logic, these Washingtonians are not full Americans yet. Puerto Rico, like D.C., has been a U.S. possession since 1898. This is no mere trivia fact. It’s something all American bigots SHOULD HAVE LEARNED in 5th grade.

      • All this conversation is doing is coming up with different ways to excuse racism. This is not a question of civics. This isn’t a failure to understand statehood or anything else.

        This is a case of people disliking people of color and not wanting them where they have a right to be. Any exercise that attempts to explain these actions other than racism is counterproductive.

        • lindblomeagles

          Thank you Bob! I was hoping somebody would say this.

      • jon

        Dear lindblomeagles,
        I’m jon, here are some things I never said:

        -You can’t wear a shirt in the US that isn’t the US flag*

        -The people of PR aren’t full americans.**

        Thank you for your strawman, I’ll put them in my garden to scare away crows.

        *you shouldn’t wear the US flag as a shirt either… flag code.
        **Though they do lack the right to democratically elected representatives for the federal government… which arguably makes them second class citizens, which is what I do say, because I don’t think anyone should be denied representation in their government… at least not in a (representative) democracy.

        • lindblomeagles

          Thanks Jon. I’m glad you didn’t say that. I’m glad you don’t feel that way. Still have to agree with Bob and Onan, particularly Bob’s point that this is a case of disliking people of color and not wanting people of color to have a right to be where bigots don’t want them to be. Any other point is a waste of energy.

          • jon

            I disagree.

            I think that leading by example, treating all people in the country equally and fairly is a virtue worth pursuing.

            We’ve condemned racists for how long? and we still have them… unfortunately condemnation isn’t going to make the problem go away… we shouldn’t stop doing it, but we should do other things too.

            We should work hard to lead by example, to say that we are equal, and actually DO something to express that.

            We’ve got people leading the drunk racists by example (particular heads of executive branches) and the condemnation doesn’t work… push for demonstrations of full equality. (and DC too.)

            I don’t think that any push for equality is ever a waste of energy.

    • RBHolb

      “[W]hen it’s not all that obvious on account of the fact that they have no (voting) representation in our federal government… ”

      To most people, it’s not all that obvious because Puerto Rico is full of brown people who speak Spanish. The constitutional “limbo” is not likely a big factor in this kind of rant.

  • lindblomeagles

    The two best takeaways from this story is Patrick Connor’s resignation and Mayes’ point that some Americans want segregation to return, separate but equal. Patrick Connor took an oath to protect and serve everyone. Police Departments NEED TO MAKE IT CLEAR that this is their job. You don’t like that or agree with it, get out of the Police Department. It is JUST that simple. Second, in light of another appointment to the Supreme Court, we need to stay vigilant that “separate, but equal,” does not become the law of the land again. We need to stay on top of these stories and the progress (or regression) future court rulings may do in this regard.

  • JamieHX

    >> “…educational campaign…” <<

    It is so NOT an "educational campaign." It's more like a persecution campaign. People erroneously throw around the term "witch hunt" a lot, but this stuff comes close. There are a lot of disagreements and arguments that occur between people of different races that have nothing to do with race. But because a bystander happens to record part of an argument and puts it on social media, any caucasian person depicted will lose their livelihood, which means that they could become homeless, maybe even die in the street. Even if that person IS racist, that should not happen to them. But sometimes the person is just trying to get some work done (or doesn’t want noise for ANY reason) and wants a child (who happens to be black) to be quiet. That person certainly should not be persecuted.

    • Rob

      If those folks don’t make frivolous 911 calls or interact inappropriately with those who are doing things they don’t like, but which are not a threat to their safety or quality of life, their risk of “persecution” falls to less than zero. Or, put more vividly, if you don’t want to be called out for being an idiot, don’t do stupid stuff.

      • JamieHX

        Being “called out” is one thing. Being stripped of your livelihood and getting death threats is a whole other thing. And remember, this happens to people who are NOT racist, too.

        • RBHolb

          Who gets to decide who’s racist? Does it really matter what’s in their hearts and minds, or what reassuring words they say, when they behave in a racist fashion?

          “I have lots of black friends, but that kid selling water on the street has got to go!”

          • I’m totally OK if racists lose their jobs and homes and have to live in the street.

            If people are afraid of that, they might consider not being racists.

            In any event, this racist depicted in this post doesn’t warrant any sympathy.

          • JamieHX

            I’m NOT ok with racists losing their jobs etc. I hate Donald Trump with every bone in my body, and I hate all of his Republican sycophants who do great harm to this country and its people, but I don’t want them to have to live and die in the streets. I WOULD be ok with many of them living and dying in prison because of crimes they’ve committed. But no human being deserves to be homeless.

          • lusophone

            So your crusade is actually against homelessness?

          • JamieHX

            It is not a crusade, and I’m not discussing homelessness per se, though it is an important issue to me. Homelessness is just probably the result of the unwarranted punishments many of these people get, sometimes without doing anything wrong.

          • Ultimately, it’s up to the employer to decide whether they want racists working for them or not. It doesn’t need your OK.

          • JamieHX

            When did I say they needed my Ok?

          • Jerry

            They’ll get a second chance. White people always seem to get a second chance.

          • Veronica

            Especially white men.

          • Jay T. Berken

            What are you thoughts of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter resigning after making racist language?

          • JamieHX

            I don’t know anymore about it than what you said right there, so I can’t comment on it.

          • JamieHX

            Totally off my part of this topic.

        • Jerry

          What we have here is a classic case of unconscious bias. Your sympathies and empathy immediately went the white people. You feel for what they are going though, instead of those who they are harassing.

          • JamieHX

            My sympathies immediately go with whomever is hastily (and metaphorically) stripped naked and put on display and beaten.

          • Jerry

            And not the ones who go though their entire lives being harassed and often (not metaphorically) being beaten because of their race? Racist actions are racist, even if the people doing it don’t think of themselves as racist.

            This guy in the video? He’s probably not the first person who has harassed this women about her race. She is probably not the first person he has harassed. The family who got threatened in the community pool? They are going to be threatened in many other places where people think “they don’t belong”. All this wears on people.

          • lindblomeagles

            That person was the Latina woman wearing a Puerto Rican shirt and the 4 youths in Minnehaha Park. None of these people committed any crimes Jamie.

          • Like whom?

          • JamieHX

            Like the woman who lost her livelihood because she wanted the kids to stop making noise. There are many others, but my memory is too faulty to be able to list them here and now.

          • Veronica

            Are you talking about the white lady who called about black kids selling water on the street who then changed her story to say they were being loud? Who would want to work with her? She seems awful.

          • Veronica

            That story made me nauseous.

          • TheVAGuy

            I believe it’s conscious bias. How can one make an unconscious choice?

        • lindblomeagles

          The racist who assaulted the Latina committed a crime called assault. A crime is a crime. The office, Connor, who acted in a racist manner as well resigned. His actions were a clear case of dereliction of duty, which is punishable by termination. Moreover, he can’t find it in his demeanor to protect people of color, he shouldn’t be a cop. Protect and serve DOES NOT mean you protect and serve only part of the population.

          • JamieHX

            I wasn’t referring to that story. I don’t know the details of that story.

          • lindblomeagles

            Now, you’re claiming ignorance. You started this thread talking about a variety of stories and Facebook videos portraying white people acting badly. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot defend people who are caught doing something racist, then claim you don’t know the facts to anything.

          • JamieHX

            I wasn’t defending people who are caught doing something racist. I didn’t say I didn’t “know the facts to anything.” I never referred to the case that’s apparently in the video above. The video is not available to me so I don’t know what it’s about. And I don’t judge things that I know little or nothing about.

        • TheVAGuy

          This jellyfish acted in a threatening manner to a woman and he’s reaping the consequences. Accost the right person and losing a job could be a minor consequence.

    • Jerry

      I have something for those poor racists who object to kids selling lemonade or people having barbecues or feel that they shouldn’t use community pools.

    • lindblomeagles

      This was not an argument Jamie. A white man approached a Latina and ordered her to remove her shirt. There was no lead up to the event. And, yeah, he should lose something, and I’m sure you would agree he should lose something if he approached a white woman he did not know, like, say, your wife, and ordered her to change her outfit. Come on Jamie. You’re way too smart for this.

      • This gentleman’s problem is he has some white privilege and he feels threatened. He said as much when he said, “you’re not going to change us.”

        Like I said, he’s not hard to figure out. The important factor in that story is the cop who didn’t do anything to stop an assault on a person of color.

        • lindblomeagles

          Yep, and I said that just below this post on the page.

        • lusophone

          That cop’s reaction made me nauseous.

      • JamieHX

        I wasn’t commenting on that particular story. My comment was about all of these stories, some of which are about people acting/speaking in racist ways, and some of which are NOT about that, and MOST of which none of us know the whole stories about.

        • lindblomeagles

          Jamie, the stories being covered are of people expressing their racism. That doesn’t mean every, all, or most white people are racist. The woman that came to the defense of 4 black youths in the Minneapolis Park incident was white. Some of the customers that came to the aid of black men in a Pennsylvania Starbucks were white. The Police on the scene in Memphis when a woman called on a Black Real Estate Agent or arrived at a pool in North Carolina and told the callers to essentially mind their own business, were white. You seem to think that any white person found of racism means the entire white race is on trial, or worse, that whites have some compelling reason for wanting blacks removed from their sight. Neither reason is a good reason, or true. And, you’re not making the stories go away by saying, “Well gee, there must have been SOME reason why the cop did nothing and the white man got defensive.” You’re doing the opposite — encouraging more people to collect more video of people acting in a racist manner.

          • JamieHX

            >> “…You seem to think that any white person found [sic] of racism means the entire white race is on trial…” <<
            I don't know where you got that. I'm just commenting on how these (usually partial) stories go viral and ruin people, some of whom may have done nothing wrong; that we never know the whole story; that people assume a LOT and read a lot into what's going on in these stories; that people automatically think any argument between two people of different races is ABOUT race, etc.

          • lindblomeagles

            Again, the ignorance defense??? Jamie, argument or not, a white guy told a Puerto Rican “you can’t change us; take off that shirt.” He had no business telling her that, and you know it. You’re creating an excuse for people where there is none. The guy acted in a racist manner. The cop let the guy act in a racist manner. That’s the end of the story here. Next?

          • JamieHX

            What ignorance defense? You’re assuming a LOT. I’ve said over and over again that I’m not discussing what is in the video above (I can’t see it). I’m referring to all the other instances of this kind of thing, other instances that Mayes was talking about in Bob’s post. Read my first comment.

          • lindblomeagles

            I’m not assuming anything. You are trying to plead ignorance to the facts of the story above, that you don’t know really know anything about it, BUT IT WAS YOU who commented on the story above when you posted to it. It was you that suggested in your post Keith Mayes and all the other stories reported were witch hunts when, in fact, the stories told were TRUE stories of people acting in a racist manner, of people who went OUT of their way to harass people of color. It is you who wants the actions of people making racist statements to be excused for reasons that have nothing to do with the motivations of their actions. Starbucks, Memphis, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis, and now this story here in Illinois. You barely even acknowledge that the actions perpetrated by the white people in these stories was wrong. And now, you want me to believe you don’t know anything about this, that your point is somehow directed at other things and that those other things are different from the event described above? I don’t think so.

          • JamieHX

            Yes, I expect you to believe that I don’t know anything about the story in the video above because I haven’t seen it. It was NOT I who commented on the story in the video. Mayes commented on other stories. Those are what I was referring to. And you cannot say, and even emphasize the word, that all the stories are true in the sense that someone was doing or saying racist things in all the stories, unless you were there and know the WHOLE stories and know what was in the hearts and heads of all the people involved. You are making assumptions and rushing to judgment, like everyone else.

            In order for The State to give punishments that are as severe as what all these people are suffering, the people involved must have their day in court, with everyone involved at least making a good-faith attempt to get at the truth before deciding if there needs to be a punishment. These stories are the equivalent of the proverbial angry mob or vigilantes taking justice into their own hands.

          • Ironically, and historically, racism is the one element of American society that has always gotten the benefit of the doubt you seek.

          • CB

            That’s the great thing about video though. One doesn’t need to hold a jury trial to condemn the racist words (or actions) coming out of their mouth for all to see and hear. Hopefully we as a society can put a stop to this kind of behavior before it ever escalates to a crime that requires the State to step in. Personal accountability, you know.

          • lusophone

            This seems like a strange post to bring up this point. It’s all right there for you to see in this case.

          • JamieHX

            I can’t see it. It’s not available to me. That’s why I haven’t commented on that case.

    • Laurie K.

      I think you are missing the bigger point here Jamie. The incidents mentioned in the blog are calls to police on people of color doing every day activities for which white people are not being called in for. Selling water, being at the pool, waiting for a colleague at a coffee place, etc. Racism doesn’t have to scream to be racism – it can be subtle. Although I would argue that in these cases, the white people calling police to report people of color basically being people of color is anything but subtle.

      • JamieHX

        Sometimes people call the police to get rid of people of color; sometimes they call the police for other not-racially-related things. Not every disagreement a Caucasian person has with a person of color is about race.

  • AmiSchwab

    what is not mentioned is that in some of these “remove the black person” calls some black people are put in danger from inadequetely trained and/or dumb cops. drunk or not, that white man is about a stupid a******. any punishment he becomes for his rant is definitely deserved.

  • lusophone

    I can’t help but think what the cop would’ve done if the drunk guy was a black man and the woman was a white suburban mom setting up her rented picnic area for a birthday party. If he came at her like that, the guy would have been on the ground in an instant with a knee on his neck. And if he was unfortunate enough to resist in anyway he would not be among us today.

  • The Resistance

    Apart from the obvious racism in this story, is that it is another example of the Blue Wall of Silence.

    I may have missed it, but I haven’t heard any other police union representatives or officers speak out vociferously against Mr. Connor and others like him, or explain what they will be doing to prevent these all too frequent types of incidents from happening in the future.

    When it comes to restoring trust in their profession, police never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Again, the good police–probably the vast majority–need to address this issue before they lose the remaining credibility their profession has.

    • theoacme

      After Philando Castile, there are no good police, and I would only trust the police to orgiastically help Trump and his Christofascist Republican minions do a Krystallnacht 2.0 (just like Hitler did, but with Southern Baptist Klansian characteristics added) on everybody that refused to publicly support giving Officer Yanez the Congressional Medal of Honor.

  • BJ
    • Guest

      Folks HAVE been hassled for an Australia T-shirt

      • BJ

        Good thing that’s the Hawaii flag.