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!”