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Police shed light on cop who resigned after dispute over Puerto Rico flag shirt

CBS News' Erin Donaghue and David Begnaud contributed to this report.  

Authorities have shed light on a police officer who resigned this week amid an investigation into his response to a woman who said she was being harassed in a Chicago forest preserve for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag. Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, said Thursday that the officer, previously identified as Patrick Connor, resigned of his own accord, and that he didn't resign in good standing. He left with a disciplinary review pending.

The harassment incident was captured in a June 14 video. It shows an irate man approaching a woman, Mia Irizarry, as she waited for her family at a picnic area in the Forest Preserves of Cook County to celebrate her 24th birthday. The man told Irizarry to not wear a T-shirt celebrating Puerto Rico if she's an American citizen -- despite the territory being part of the U.S. 

"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America," he said. "Are you a citizen?" 

"Yes I am," Irizarry replied.

"Then you should not be wearing that. You should be wearing United States of America flag," he said. 

An officer -- Connor -- arrived, but the video shows he didn't intervene even as the man invaded Irizarry's personal space and continued to harangue her. Irizarry is seen in the video filing a formal complaint and says that the initial responding officer did "absolutely zero." 

Connor was placed on desk duty on June 26, after apparently taking a pre-scheduled vacation shortly after the incident.

The local police chief said Connor was very remorseful and that Connor thought he handled the incident appropriately.

Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo called the video showing the incident "appalling, gut wrenching, and a real wake-up call to everyone." Arroyo said the situation could have escalated but that the victim kept her composure.

The officer "embarrassed many of our law enforcement officers and tarnished the whole department with his failure to act," Arroyo said.

On Thursday, Randall said he is "outraged" and "sincerely sorry this happened."  

July 12, 2018 by David Begnaud on YouTube