The unit responsible for controlling public unrest and protests in Portland lost all of its members on Wednesday, June 16, including all of the officers, sergeants, and detectives, due to a group resignation.
The members lost all of their desire to remain in the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team following the indictment of their colleague Officer Corey Budworth for injuring an activist at a racial injustice protest last year.
“Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system,” the police union of nearly 50 members said of Budworth’s charges.
Last year on August 18, Antifa protesters aimed at the county sheriff’s department headquarters and threw objects at the facility, as the Washington Examiner reported, including a flammable Molotov cocktail.
As officer Budworth responded to the mob, he allegedly used a baton to take down the activist photographer and rioter Teri Jacobs and gave her another baton hit when she was already down.
On June 15 this year, the Multnomah County grand jury indicted Budworth with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. The decision came after a civil rights and battery lawsuit filed by Jacobs in September last year.
Her attorney Juan Chavez argued that her presence at the riot was harmless as she was performing her job as a photojournalist.
“Ms. Jacobs posed no threat to the officer at any time, and she had not committed any crime nor was she being lawfully arrested or detained,” said Chavez, adding that the video showed the officer noticed his wrongful action and quickly “composed himself and walked away as if nothing happened.”
“An entire squad of Portland Police Officers witnessed this act, failed to intervene, and allowed this officer to walk away after committing a violent crime against Ms. Jacobs,” he continued.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said Budworth’s action was excessive use of force and lacking legal justification, which must be responded to accordingly.
“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,” said Schmidt in a statement Tuesday.
The police union, however, argued that the charges were politically driven as they believed the hit to Jacobs’ head was “accidental.”
According to a report by compliance officer Dennis Rosenbaum, Budworth’s strike to Jacobs was rather a “push” than an intentional attempt, which therefore should not be classified as lethal force.
In a statement by the Portland Police Association, according to Oregonlive, Budworth used his baton to put Jacobs aside, and the second strike that hit her was “to try and keep her on the ground, which accidentally struck Ms. Jacobs in the head.”
“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,” the union said in defense.
Court documents revealed that the city has accepted to pay Jacobs’ settlement fee, which was $50,000, in addition to her $11,000 attorney payment.