A woman setting up a birthday picnic at an Illinois park was repeatedly harassed by an angry stranger for wearing a T-shirt saying “Puerto Rico” in America.
“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” he said.
The disturbing confrontation last month was captured on video and posted to Facebook July 6. The threatening man, who was clearly clueless that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, harangued the woman as a park police officer nearby did nothing — even though the woman repeatedly asked him for help. The officer even walked away from her as the harasser asked him: “Why is she wearing that shit?”
You’re “not going to change us,” the harasser told the woman — though it wasn’t clear exactly whom he meant by “us.”
At one point he asked the woman, “Are you educated?”
The woman remained calm and polite throughout the confrontation, calling the man “sir.”
A late-arriving party guest finally ordered the man to leave, and he moved away from the woman
The park location was not identified in the Facebook post, but a Twitter army tracked the location as one of the areas supervised by the Forest Preserves Department of Cook County, which includes Chicago. The officer captured on the video has been assigned to desk duty while his inaction is investigated, according to a statement from the department. The unidentified “intoxicated” man who accosted the woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
“All people are welcome in the Forest Preserves of Cook County and no one should feel unsafe while visiting our preserves,” the department tweeted.
Check out the video above.
The confrontation is only the most recent of a series of ugly encounters over race and immigration in America. A New Yorker recently screamed at a worker in a restaurant for speaking Spanish, and police have been called on black children mowing a lawn and selling water in front of a house, and on an African-American firefighter inspecting homes in Oakland, California. That’s a tiny sample.