Portland’s entire police riot team just resigned following an extremely questionable indictment of a fellow officer.
All 50 of the Portland Police Bureau’s highly trained rapid response unit officers have walked away after Officer Corey Budworth was indicted for allegedly assaulting a photographer during an overnight 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 Tuesday after a Multnomah County grand jury charged Budworth with one count of fourth-degree assault related to the Aug. 18, 2020, incident.
That night, according to the police union, about 200 demonstrators – many equipped with tactical helmets, faces covered, and armed with a variety of weapons – descended on the Multnomah Building in southeast Portland.
Multiple dumpsters were set on fire, buildings were defaced, and windows were broken. A riot soon was declared at the planned event after someone from the crowd launched a Molotov cocktail into the building, setting it ablaze.
“After nearly 75 consecutive nights of violence, destruction, and mayhem, a small group of RRT (Rapid Response Team) officers — including Officer Budworth — were again tasked with dealing with the riot,” the Portland Police Association said.
“Per PPB Command Staff orders, RRT officers cleared the rioters from the area to allow the Fire Bureau to extinguish the blaze. But the rioters were not satisfied.”
According to the union, rioters regrouped and began marching back toward the building. As the Rapid Response Team was working to clear the area, Officer Budworth “was forcefully knocked to the ground” and officers deployed pepper spray and less lethal munitions as the crowd grew more aggressive.
“RRT officers, including Officer Budworth, used their Police Bureau-issued batons to try and stop the crowd’s criminal activity,” the union’s description of events continued. “Per his training and in response to the active aggression of a rioter interfering with a lawful arrest, Officer Budworth used baton pushes to move a rioter, now known to be Teri Jacobs, out of the area.”
Jacobs, an activist and photographer, fell to the ground. Cell phone video showing Budworth striking Jacobs in head from behind quickly circulated on social media. But the union said the blow to the head was an accident on the officer’s part and he used the lowest level of baton force.
“Reasonably believing that she was getting back up to re-engage in her unlawful activities, Officer Budworth employed one last baton push to try and keep her on the ground, which accidentally struck Ms. Jacobs in the head,” the union said.
“The location of Officer Budworth’s last baton push was accidental, not criminal. He faced a violent and chaotic, rapidly evolving situation, and he used the lowest level of baton force — a push; not a strike or a jab — to remove Ms. Jacobs from the area.”
A Portland Police Bureau (PPB) statement indicated that the resignations were effective Wednesday, and it’s unclear what implications would be for law enforcement response to future demonstrations in Portland.
The Portland Police Association accused Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt of ignoring the reality of the violent nature of the crowd and Jacob’s criminal activity. The union stressed that Budworth did exactly as he was trained, arguing that the Portland Police Bureau’s own experts reviewed his actions and found them “reasonable, permissible, and in accordance with his training.”
“We ask our community to wait for all the facts before passing judgment. We trust in our criminal justice system when the system fairly and objectively applies the rule of law,” the union said.
“Once the full picture is revealed, we are confident that justice will prevail, and Officer Budworth will be exonerated of all charges. And we look forward to seeing the District Attorney’s office make progress on prosecuting the real criminals who are perpetrating vandalism, arson, gun violence, and other violent crimes in our community. We stand by our officer, truth, and justice.”
Author: Rick Ratcliffe