Updated: Feb 12
Today’s article focuses on the recent controversy coming out of Illinois.
On the 14th of June Mia Irizarry was confronted by a man at an Illinois park. She was there getting ready for her birthday party celebration, and waiting for her family to join her.
Irizarry starts filming a confrontational man who beings to racially harass her. He berates her with questions like,
“Are you a citizen?”, “You’re not American, if you were .. you wouldn’t wear that”.
Apparently, Irizarry wearing a t-shirt showing the colours of the Puerto Rican flag was enough for this man to snap. Puerto Rico, for anyone who doesn’t know, is an American owned territory. The story doesn’t end there.
In the background of her footage, there is quite clearly a male police officer casually hanging around. She is heard asking the officer for help.
“Officer, I’m renting this area and he’s harassing me about the shirt that I’m wearing.”Nothing. “Officer … I paid for a permit for this area, I do not feel comfortable with him here, is there anything you can do?”Nothing.
Eventually, more Police officers arrive and arrest the man. Yet from what the footage shows the officer Irizarry calmly, and repeatedly, asked for help did nothing.
Following this, the officer has been put on desk duty as a result of his actions.
Here’s the video in full. (1:03 is where the confrontation kicks off.)
So here’s my personal reaction:
Firstly, this abuse is not particularly new for minorities in the United States.
Non-caucasian individuals, let’s just say, have been subject to this sort of abuse for what seems like an eternity. That’s not even considering black Americans. Technology nowadays has simply shed light on this inexcusable behaviour.
But still this is just insane.
How can there be so much hatred in the world?
I think what makes it even more incredible is that it came out of nowhere. This incident could have happened to any non-white individual at that exact same time and spot.
Secondly, what the hell is that policeman doing?
I genuinely don’t understand how you can defend this police officer. Yet, already I’ve seen people do just that. Arguments such as “well he wasn’t being violent just loud” have been gaining traction on the web. I mean just these sorts of responses are incredulous, to say the least.
I personally want to have a few seconds to rant at this officer, although I’m really not expecting him to read this(!).
You are a police officer. It is your job to defend citizens who are in need of protection. This lady has repeatedly asked you for help, so how can you turn a blind eye? How can you ignore the yelling from this insane individual? (I say insane because there’s clearly something not functioning properly up there.)
I genuinely can’t understand how you can justify this man’s behaviour. Personally, I would strip the officer from his badge. The U.S police should have a no tolerance policy for its police officers for behaviour like this. I come to that decision from an alternative angle.
Would you trust that police officer with the lives of your wife and kids?
Would you seriously believe after, watching that footage, that this man is capable of upholding the badge that he willingly, voluntarily chose to fight for?
Desk duty for failing to simply stop a non-compliant individual harassing an innocent victim seems pathetic. I genuinely don’t understand it. Surely more punishment is warranted?
Putting things into perspective.
I believe, this situation reflects not only a societal crisis for the U.S, but also highlights the impact of the Trump Administration on the nature of civil discourse.
Since assuming office, we are seeing the emergence of extreme far-right racist elements, which once hidden away on the fringes of the political extremes, now emerging into the mainstream. I am by no means suggesting that this man was a member of the KKK or a neo-nazi. However, this man’s behaviour is not exclusive to him. Multiple cases are now emerging showing this type of behaviour and it is deeply concerning. There has to be a link between the sudden increase of this behaviour and the current Trump administration.
This isn’t really surprising for me personally. I have constantly believed that people needed to understand the social risks of a Trump Presidency.
The Trump administration’s strategy of continuously deflecting criticism, denying evidence, statistics are all being replicated by these groups. They see the success of the administration’s handling of critics as a blueprint for their own movements. They don’t need to be given facts, as they don’t believe in them. They don’t need to be told their beliefs and actions are morally wrong as they have no moral compass.
This is only the beginning, it’s only going to get worse unless something gets done. So I beg the American people to take action during the midterms. Say no to this type of behaviour. Say no to the racism, divisiveness and morally wrong behaviour that is promoted by this administration.
The U.S of all places should lead the world in combating racism, divisiveness and extremism. It should not become a haven for bigots and the like. The U.S should take pride in their nation’s blueprint of being an immigrant nation. Where people from all over the world can still make it top regardless of their starting point in life. Surely the issue of racism and bigotry is not political. Surely behaviour like this needs to be punished, regardless of your political standing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.