Entire Portland Police rapid response team quits after officer's indictment

  • Entire Portland Police rapid response team quits after officer's indictment

Entire Portland Police rapid response team quits after officer's indictment

But Portland's police union described the decision to prosecute the officer as "politically driven".

"Its members were sworn employees of the Portland Police who served on RRT in addition to their daily assignment in the Bureau".

According to a video shared in social media, the officer chased and shoved the photographer to the ground before knocking a helmet off her head with his baton.

The assignment is voluntary and the officers will remain on the force and continue their regular assignments, the bureau said.

"After almost 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.

Last October, the then police association president, Daryl Turner, wrote a letter to the city's mayor and police chief asking them to "stand up and publicly support police bureau members who voluntarily serve on the Rapid Response Team".

"I don't think it is just an indictment that caused this to happen", he told reporters. "The location of Officer Budworth's last baton push was accidental, not criminal", they said in a statement on Wednesday.

The association accused Multnomah County District Attorney's Office of playing politics with Budworth by ignoring "the violent nature of the crowd and Ms. Jacob's criminal activity".

"It is my expectation, and the community's expectation, that the City remains committed to public safety and effective police oversight".

"I have confidence that the [Police] Bureau will continue their mission to maintain public safety", said Schmidt. "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". As law enforcement officials, we recognize that community members and law enforcement officers alike are responsible for their conduct and that our judicial system is created to address wrongdoing equally, whether by community members or law enforcement officers.

Meanwhile, Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler conceded that the past year has been hard for officers: "I want to acknowledge the toll this past year has taken on them and their families - they have worked long hours under hard conditions. I personally heard from some of them today, and I appreciate their willingness to share their concerns about managing the many public gatherings that often were violent and destructive".

With Portland's crowd-control squad gone, the city will reportedly turn to the Oregon State Police's mobile response team as well as the Oregon National Guard if Portland police officers need support in the coming days. He has spent four of his six years as a PPB officer as a highly trained member of PPB's Rapid Response Team (RRT).

Earlier this week, a grand jury charged Portland police officers with assault charges that prosecutors claimed to be "excessive and illegal use of force" during a protest last summer.

But lawyers for Teri Jacobs, the independent photojournalist who was named as the victim in the indictment against Budworth, said the resignations from the team demonstrate "the contempt its members feel for even the possibility that one of their colleagues is held accountable for his actions".

Members of the RRT served as the police bureau's lead responders to the city's recent racial justice protests, which drew thousands of Portlanders into the street to protest police violence.

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

In November, a city report found that a majority of Portland's police officers had "not received any recent skills training in crowd management, de-escalation, procedural justice, crisis intervention, or other critical skills for preventing or minimizing the use of force".