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Man sentenced to probation for racist rant about Puerto Rico flag T-shirt

“I’m extremely embarrassed and saddened by that day,” Timothy Trybus said.

Screen image of Timothy G. Trybus yelling at a woman in the Forest Preserve for wearing a Puerto Rican T-shirt.
Timothy Trybus was sentenced to two years of probation for yelling at a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt.
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Timothy Trybus avoided prison Monday for a racist rant in a Cook County forest preserve last year that was caught on video and went viral.

“I’m extremely embarrassed and saddened by that day,” Trybus said, his voice quavering as he spoke in a Skokie courtroom.

Cook County Judge Aleksandra Nikolic Gillespie, without comment, handed Trybus two years of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Prosecutors had also sought probation, saying Trybus’ target in the June 2018 rant had moved on with her life and wasn’t seeking prison time for Trybus, who has no other felony history.

Trybus faced up to five years in prison.

Timothy Trybus
Timothy Trybus
Cook County Forest Preserve District

Trybus was found guilty by a jury last month of two counts of a felony hate crime.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Trybus’ yelling at Mia Irizarry on June 14, 2018, in the Caldwell Woods was more than simply the behavior of a “racist jerk.”

Irizarry feared for her safety when Trybus repeatedly approached her, getting so close she could feel his breath on her body — all because he didn’t approve of her Puerto Rico flag T-shirt, prosecutors told jurors. Irizarry recorded the event on her phone — a video that later went viral and was a key feature of the trial.

“Being drunk, being intoxicated in no way excuses the defendant in what he did,” Assistant State’s Attorney Patricia Berlinsky said.

But David Goldman, Trybus’ attorney, said his client’s behavior “wasn’t hateful as much as it was stupid.”

And Goldman said Irizarry didn’t appear to feel threatened, noting she calmly took out her phone and made a 36-minute video of the incident.

Mia Irizarry speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Friday, July 13, 2018, about an incident where a man confronted her about a T-shirt she wore emblazoned with the Puerto Rican flag
Mia Irizarry
AP file photo