Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune
by Gregory Pratt

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle offered an apology Tuesday to a woman seen on video being verbally attacked by a man because she was wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt, while a Forest Preserve District officer apparently stood by and watched.

In the video, a man demands to know why the woman is wearing a shirt displaying the Puerto Rican flag. He asks her whether she is an American citizen, even though Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.

ADVERTISING

“You should not be wearing that in the United States of America,” the man tells her.

The June 14 incident at Caldwell Woods on the Far Northwest Side came to light Monday and has also attracted the attention of Ricardo Rossello, governor of Puerto Rico, who released a series of tweets on the incident.

Speaking at an unrelated event, Preckwinkle called the incident “completely unacceptable” and offered her apologies to the victim for the “terrible experience.”

“We’ve worked hard over the last 7 1/2 years to make the Forest Preserve District a welcoming place for all. The incident in June is completely unacceptable. I apologize to the young woman who had this terrible experience. I’m troubled by the response of the initial officer on the scene,” Preckwinkle said, noting the district is investigating and the officer has been assigned to desk duty pending the investigation’s outcome.

She said the officer should have intervened as the man in the video “was abusive and offensive in his behavior” and the woman had a permit to use the space. But Preckwinkle demurred when asked if the officer should be fired, saying she doesn’t know the specific rules in the Forest Preserve District for conduct unbecoming an officer.

READ MORE: Video appears to show Forest Preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rican flag shirt »

In a series of tweets about the incident, Rosello said he hoped Preckwinkle would involve herself in the matter and that the initial officer on the scene “be expelled from the police force” for not calming the situation. Rosello called the incident “undignified” and said he was “appalled, shocked & disturbed.”

“The United States of America is a nation that was built and thrives on diversity. We cannot allow those who do not understand America’s greatness to terrorize people because of their background. This is not the America we all believe in,” Rosello tweeted.

Preckwinkle later released a statement saying she spoke with Rosello on Tuesday afternoon.

“I expressed my regret over the June 14 incident in the Caldwell Woods Forest Preserves and assured him that what is shown in the video does not represent our values in Cook County. I assured him that disciplinary action regarding the Forest Preserves police officer will be taken upon conclusion of our investigation,” Preckwinkle said in the statement.

READ MORE: After viral video, a refresher course: 5 things to know about Puerto Rico »

Democratic U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez on Tuesday wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for an investigation.

“I understand this incident on a gut level because almost exactly the same thing happened to me when I was a freshman in Congress,” Gutierrez wrote. “I was denied entry into the Capitol complex by U.S. Capitol Police despite being a Congressman with identification, because my daughter was carrying a Puerto Rican flag and the officer doubted that I could possibly be a Member of Congress.”

Gutierrez declined to run for re-election and has said he plans to move to Puerto Rico after his term ends in January.

Preckwinkle said the Forest Preserves intend to use the video in future training exercises.

The man in the video was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct, according to the Forest Preserves agency, which described the man as intoxicated.

Chicago Tribune’s Madeline Buckley, Matthew Walberg and Paige Fry contributed.

gpratt@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @royalpratt



Recent Headlines

Cook County forest preserve picnic, camping permits for 2020 season to go on sale Nov. 15
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s public defender plans to ask Illinois Supreme Court to reverse decision that permits holding preteens in custody despite county ordinance
Monday, November 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’
Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Nonprofit hospitals forced to defend hundreds of millions in property tax breaks
Friday, November 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Land Bank must serve neighborhoods, not City Hall insiders
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After judge’s dismissal, Skokie appeals federal lawsuit over Evanston water rates
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 teens in DCFS care were shackled and handcuffed during drive from a youth shelter: ‘Totally unacceptable,’ agency says
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Unfair assessments lawsuit dismissed after assessor makes changes — full reform called a ‘years-long process’
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles raises property tax about $21 per average household
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Pioneer Press

Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

$8M grant program aims to expand Cook County animal shelter space
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
ABC EyeWitness News

Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held
Monday, November 04, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A progressive measure intended to keep preteens out of Cook County jails was effectively struck down by an appellate court
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health CEO Calls on Other Hospitals to Increase Charity Care
Friday, November 01, 2019
WTTW News

Labrador retriever sworn in at Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Yes, really.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff wants chief judge to take over electronic monitoring of suspects, citing the records of those released
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois appellate court rejects ordinance banning detention of 10-12 year olds
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Injustice Watch

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP