CHICAGO — The Cook County Forest Preserve District police officer who resigned after being caught on video seemingly ignoring a woman's call for help did not leave "in good standing," and an investigation into his conduct continues, the district's superintendent said Thursday.
County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. said at a news conference that Officer Patrick Connor "embarrassed many of our law enforcement officers and tarnished the whole department with his failure to act." By contrast, county officials praised the woman in the video as a role model for her composure under intense, racially charged pressure.
Connor's resignation announced Wednesday came amid a growing chorus of calls for him to lose his job over the encounter, which happened in mid-June but became an international scandal this week when video footage of the incident went viral and drew millions of views.
In the video, shot at Caldwell Woods in Chicago, a man confronts and berates a woman for wearing a shirt emblazoned with the flag of Puerto Rico. The woman appeals to the officer, but appears to not respond. Attempts to reach Connor have been unsuccessful.
District Police Chief Kelvin Pope said Connor was "very remorseful" when he resigned on Wednesday, but that Connor considered it "an unfortunate incident" and felt he wasn't "given a fair shake" by all the publicity.
Forest Preserves Superintendent Arnold Randall said he "vehemently disagreed" with Connor that he handled the situation properly. His personnel file will note he left with "discipline pending," and he won't be rehired to the department.
Now, the district will review the diversity training officers have to take. Connor took that training a year ago, officials said.
Randall tried to place the incident in the context of racially charged incidents happening across the country, saying it's a reminder that people need to stand up to the type of behavior seen in the video.
Connor, 56, joined the department in 2006, according to state records. He has come under heavy criticism based on the video, and there have been multiple calls for him to be dismissed. Connor had been on desk duty on June 24 -- 10 days after the video was shot -- as an internal investigation commenced.
Earlier Wednesday, the top lawyer for the union that represents Connor and his fellow officers on the forest preserve district police force had urged people not to rush to judgment based on what was seen on the video.
"I always say this when it comes to video: The video doesn't look good, but anybody who's a football fan knows that the video doesn't tell the entire story," Tamara Cummings, general counsel for the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, said Wednesday. "We don't know what was going on outside the video, and we don't know what was going through the officer's mind. That's the purpose of the investigation, to find out all the facts."
The video shows the woman asking Connor to restrain the man who is bothering her. The officer is visible in the background of the video, standing several yards from the man and the woman, but he does not appear to respond to the woman's requests for help.
The man, later identified as Timothy Trybus, has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct. Cook County prosecutors are considering felony hate crime charge.
In the video, Trybus, 62, 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 and its residents are U.S. citizens.
"You should not be wearing that in the United States of America," Trybus tells her.
In a longer version of the video, the officer explains that he was called to the preserve in response to an alleged incident between a man who was with Trybus and another woman, and Connor appears to try to assure the victim that Trybus does not pose any threat to her safety.
Eileen Figel, the Forest Preserve District's deputy general superintendent, said there "needs to be a clear and appropriate response in these situations. We acknowledge that's not what we saw."
But, she added, there also needs to be "due process to understand the entire context of what happened, including some things that are not captured on that video, and that's what the investigation is designed to do."