'MericaMax': Man harasses woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, police officer refuses to help

Elise Solé
A police officer is under investigation for not helping a woman who was harassed for wearing a shirt with a Puerto Rican flag. (Photo: Getty Images)

A man was arrested for harassing a woman wearing a shirt with a Puerto Rican flag — and a police officer is being investigated for not intervening.

On Tuesday, the hashtag #MericaMax went viral regarding the harassment of a Chicago woman named Mia Irizarry, who was celebrating her 24th birthday in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, when a man started berating her about her shirt. The June incident, which the governor of Puerto Rico said “appalled, shocked, and disturbed” him, spread shock on social media. 

“Why are you wearing that?” the man points to Irizarry in Facebook Live footage she captured, while repeatedly demanding to know her citizenship status.

Turning toward a policeman, who was standing several feet away, Irizarry said, “Officer, I’m renting this area and he’s harassing me about this shirt that I’m wearing.” She also instructed the man to move away from her.

When the policeman didn’t respond, Irizarry says, “Officer, I feel highly uncomfortable. Can you please grab him?” to which he turns his head and walks in the opposite direction.

“As you can see, the police, he’s not even grabbing him,” Irizarry says to her viewers. “This guy’s just walking up to me, he basically got in my face, damn near almost touched me.”

The man again approaches Irizarry in a threatening manner while she begs him to stay away.

A man suddenly yells off camera, “Puerto Rico is an American state! They voted for your president!” while Irizarry’s brother approaches the cop himself.

The officer appears to finally engage and Irizarry can be heard saying, “OK, well how come you’re saying something when [my brother’s] going up, but when he was coming up to me, you didn’t do anything?”

While the man paces and shouts “Shut the f*** up!” Irizarry zooms in on the officer. “[He] did absolutely nothing,” she says. “It says ICE on his car so he probably thinks I’m illegal….”

Finally, multiple police cars pull up, responding to a separate incident, and a female officer informs the man he’s intoxicated. “Well, that’s your judgment,” he responds. She then warns him, “You don’t come here harassing people. People have just as much right to be here as you and when you’re drunk, you don’t belong here.”

Ironically, the initial officer wound up taking the official report from Irizarry, who pointed out that she asked for his assistance multiple times. The cop responded by calling the man a “big mouth.”

“Well, I guess you just never know,” replied Irizarry.

“Had he been a black man coming at a white woman, I swear he would have done something,” Irizarry tells the camera at one point. People on Twitter called the officer “worthless” and noted that Puerto Rico is a United States commonwealth and its people American citizens. The incident was also called racist. Irizarry did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. 

The Forest Preserves, which Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach for comment, tweeted that the officer had been reassigned to desk duty until an investigation is complete, and that the intoxicated man had been arrested for disorderly conduct and assault.

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