Lawyer uses ‘Jekyll-and-Hyde’ defense for anti-Puerto Rico loudmouth
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In the viral video, Timothy G. Trybus barely stopped talking for 36 minutes as he badgered a woman over her shirt bearing the Puerto Rican flag.
In court on Friday, Trybus blurted out just one declaration: “I have no objections.”
The 62-year-old Northwest Sider whose face was plastered across millions of screens this week showed his face in court over felony hate crime charges for his allegedly drunken tirade. Trybus was expressionless in a mustard-yellow shirt as he stood before Cook County Judge Earl Hoffenberg.
The video of Trybus haranguing 24-year-old Mia Irizarry sparked shock not only for the man’s extended xenophobic tirade, but for the Cook County Forest Preserve Police officer who stood idly by and ignored pleas for help from Irizarry as Trybus jabbed his finger and continued to accost her.
Defense attorney David Goldman acknowledged Trybus’ “obnoxious speech” but said it didn’t rise to the level of a hate crime. He blamed it on a combination of alcohol and painkillers the man took a day after having six teeth removed.
“It’s almost like a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ situation when he drinks,” Goldman told Hoffenberg.
Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Heilingoetter said Trybus “got within inches of her personal space” as he questioned her citizenship, making her believe “that she was going to be physically harmed by the defendant.”
The judge ordered Trybus released on his own recognizance with a $10,000 I-bond, meaning Trybus didn’t have to post cash bond.
He was expected to be released Friday evening with an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Not present at the Skokie courthouse for the hearing was the target of Trybus’ rant — or Patrick Connor –– the police officer who apparently let it drag on.
During her first public appearance since her video swept the internet, Irizarry lambasted Connor as a “coward” for resigning on Wednesday instead of sitting through a disciplinary hearing.
“I will never get to hear from this man, this protector, his reasoning for why my safety –– no, my life –– had such little value to him, why an American citizen could not reap the benefits of the police force when it was most needed,” Irizarry said at a Humboldt Park press conference.
Before his resignation, Connor, a 10-year veteran officer, had been reassigned to desk duty since the days after the June 14 encounter in Caldwell Woods.
In the video, Connor watched as Trybus badgered Irizarry, asking “Are you a citizen? Then you should not be wearing that,” and “I would like to know is she an American citizen? Why is she wearing that s—?”
Trybus initially was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors on Thursday added two felony counts of hate crime following three days of mounting outrage over the video.
After Friday’s hearing, Trybus’ friend John Bimmerle called him “a sweetheart” who volunteered with him monthly at a downtown soup kitchen for the homeless, but added “he’s also got a short temper.”
“He’s not racist,” Bimmerle said. “It wasn’t hatred with him. It was stupidity. It was just total stupidity.”
“He just told me, ‘This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life,’ ” said Bimmerle, who suggested Connor allowed the situation to escalate.
“If the policeman would’ve walked over there and said ‘Get the hell out of here,’ this thing never would’ve went this far. Never,” Bimmerle said.
Trybus lives with and cares for an elderly woman at an Edison Park home, which Hoffenberg said he considered in granting his release.
If given the chance, Bimmerle said he believed Trybus would apologize to Irizarry “in an instant.”
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Cook County officials apologized to Irizarry, refunded her cost of renting the pavilion for her 24th birthday and gave her Brookfield Zoo passes.
The ordeal caught the attention of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who tweeted: “This is not the America we all believe in.”
And Rep. Luis Gutierrez connected the incident to President Donald Trump during a House floor speech on Thursday.
“When our president calls Puerto Ricans lazy and expensive to help, it hurts our nation,” the Northwest Side Democrat said. “When he calls Mexicans rapists and murderers or calls refugees fleeing violence with their children ‘illegal immigrants’ . . . it filters down,” he said.
Trybus’ I-bond means he’ll be on the hook for $10,000 if he doesn’t show up at his next court hearing Aug. 1.
Hoffenberg ordered him to stay away from Irizarry and out of forest preserves.