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Entire Portland Police Riot Team Quits as Officer Charged with Using Force on Rioter

Every members of 50-person squad resigns in protest

 on 18th June 2021 @ 11.00pm
the entire portland police riot squad has quit in protest © press
The entire Portland Police riot squad has quit in protest

Every riot cop on the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team has quit in protest after a fellow "riot squad" officer was hit with a criminal indictment for an action he took during Black Lives Matter mob violence in the city last August.

The entire 50-person riot squad has resigned in solidarity with one of their colleagues, Officer Corey Budworth, who was indicted for "using force" against a rioter.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the resignations were effective immediately.

The en-masse resignations come after the indictment on Tuesday of Officer Budwort, for assault during an incident in which he allegedly struck BLM activist Teri Jacobs during a violent riot last summer. 

"Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system," the Portland Police Association said in a statement Tuesday.

A Multnomah County grand jury charged Budworth with one count of fourth-degree assault related to the August 18, 2020, incident. 

the riot squad was deployed to portland s streets to contain the violence during a black lives matter riot © press
The riot squad was deployed to Portland's streets to contain the violence during a Black Lives Matter riot

According to reports from the Post Millennial and local radio station KXL-FM, the Rapid Response team voted unanimously to disband during a meeting with the Portland police union.

The cohort consisted of about 50 officers and included detectives and sergeants. 

Team members, which have been deployed to respond to recurrent uprisings that have taken place in the city since last summer, were reportedly disaffected by a lack of support from City Hall and from the district attorney.

On Wednesday, police union director Daryl Turner told the "Lars Larson Show" he feared the final straw for officers would be what he called the "witch hunt" prosecution of Officer Corey Budworth.

Budworth, accused of using unnecessary force against photojournalist and provocateur, Teri Jacobs, during a declared riot on Aug. 18, had initially been cleared after an internal investigation by the police department.

On that night, the team was deployed to contain an uprising after protesters threw a Molotov cocktail into a county building, setting it on fire.

But on Tuesday, Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced a criminal indictment against Budworth, charging him with fourth-degree assault.

"In this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth's deployment of force and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances," Schmidt said in a statement.

"My office will continue to do everything we can to ensure justice is done without error or delay and that we make sure our work and practices are rooted in fairness and equity."

In response, the police union fired back, calling the indictment a "politically driven charging decision."

"It is important to remember that our officer has not been found guilty of any crime," the union said in a news release.

"Like every citizen, our officer is innocent until proven guilty.

"He faced a violent and chaotic, rapidly evolving situation" involving "a group of 200 demonstrators, many equipped with tactical helmets, faces covered, and armed with a variety of weapons."

The union added that Budworth "used the lowest level of baton force — a push; not a strike or a jab — to remove Ms. Jacobs from the area."

officer corey budworth was indicted for  using force  against a rioter © press
Officer Corey Budworth was indicted for 'using force' against a rioter

In a news release, the Portland Police Bureau described the team as "an all-hazard incident response team that has received advanced specialized training to respond to incidents requiring higher levels of technical expertise including public order policing, natural or man-made disasters."

"The primary role has been to provide public safety at crowd events when there was a threat of harm to the community," the bureau added.

Now with the entire rapid response team disbanded, it is not clear how the city will manage demonstrations planned for the coming weekend.

"Now that the riot team is no more, we have no clue what's going to happen," a Portland police officer told the Post Millennial.

"We don't have enough patrol officers to be pulled from the road to handle huge crowds.

"We are only backups with no gear like the riot team has."

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tags: Police | Riot
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